Your Guide To The OEMs, Part 3

The golf equipment business is a crowded, cutthroat place. To help you make sense of it, I’m giving you my interpretation of how the top companies in the biz relate to one another.

Bag DropSo far, we’ve examined six of the top original equipment manufacturers in golf today: The Big Three of Acushnet, Callaway and TaylorMade-Adidas, and the Next Three of Cleveland, Nike and Ping. This week, The Bag Drop takes a look at a couple groups of golf companies that find themselves looking up at those six brands.

Volume Twenty-Three

I need help with my upcoming golf trip, so while you’re reading this week’s links, think of ways to help me prepare.

Hittin' the LinksOn Wednesday evening, I leave for southern Ohio for a quick three-day golf trip with a few of my buddies. There’s some good golf there, and I’m from the area. We’re playing 36 on Thursday, 36 on Friday, and 18 on Saturday. The last time I played 36 holes in a day was when I was 17 and in a golf tournament. I’m a little concerned about how my stamina will be. I haven’t played that much this year and I imagine it will be hot.

If anyone has any tips for me on how to keep my scores low and my stamina high, leave it in the comments. Now, on to the links.

Player of the Year takes NEC Invitational

Tiger Woods won his fourth WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone in six years on Sunday, edging Chris DiMarco by a shot, despite some mighty struggles with his putter.

Tiger Woods Fore Left!!!Tiger is at his best when he’s playing against the best, and despite not playing his best, Tiger managed to sneak out a one-stroke victory at the WGC-NEC Invitational. This victory marks Tiger’s 45th PGA Tour victory of his career, his fifth of 2005, his fourth at Firestone, and his ninth (of only 18) World Golf Championship tournaments. With two victories, a T2, and a T4 in the majors this year along with three other wins, do you think Player of the Year is wrapped up? I do.

Safeway Win a First for Soo-Yun Kang

Soo-Yun Kang claims her first victory at the Safeway Classic.

kang_safeway.jpgAfter tying the lead with Sung Ah Yim in first round action with a 64 and then taking a three-stroke lead on Saturday, Soo-Yun Kang certainly must have felt confident entering into the final round of the Safeway Classic. She sure looked at ease, smiling her way through eighteen holes and rarely missing a step. Her nerves only showed a bit halfway through her round and then again on the eighteenth as she missed her par putt and bogeyed in to win four strokes ahead of Jeong Jang.

Soo-Yun Kang is the fifth Korean to win on the LPGA Tour this year. With a wire-to-wire win after three full seasons playing golf among the best females on tour the 29-year old feels even more “Seoul-ful” with a 3-under 69 finish. Drenched in champagne by friends Birdie Kim and Gloria Park, Kang shrieked with delight. “I waited so long, for the past three years. I thought about it I guess like I was in a slump for three years and I worked really hard on it.”

Breaking Out of a Slump

Need to break out of a slump? Here are five tried and true ways to do just that.

Trap Five LogoEvery golfer has endured a slump or two – days or weeks when your game just isn’t what it could be. For the pros, these slumps produce missed cuts (or T2s at majors if his name is Tiger Woods). For amateurs, these slumps produce lost bets, frustration, and – in some cases – humiliation. Many vow to quit the game during prolonged slumps (and a few even follow through).

Here then are my list of the top five ways to get yourself out of a slump. They’re tried and true methods, and some may even be able to work their way into your regular practice routine.

Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 Driver Review

The Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 driver is the third generation of composite-based drivers from Callaway Golf. Looks like the third time’s the charm.

FT-3 DriversCallaway Golf is enjoying a resurgent 2005 after a couple off-years. The company started the year by launching the Big Bertha 454 Titanium driver, which has been a success in the marketplace. With the golf season in full swing across the U.S., Callaway has released a new titanium-composite driver, the Big Bertha Fusion FT-3. Will the company’s new driver succeed where the composite-based C4 and ERC Fusion drivers faltered? The early word is a resounding “Yes.”

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is finally living up to his potential. He’s always been a sportsman, now he’s a multiple-major winner.

ProFilesBy the end of the 2003 PGA season Phil Mickelson was tired. Tired of facing the media and his own tortured soul over his lack of major championship victories. He was the poster child for underachievers and the unfortunate recipient of a clichéd label the media and masses had become accustomed to associating with all things Mickelson. He was “the best player to have never won a major.” He had been walking around with that pebble in his shoe for a long time and has finally shaken it out. Twice.

It is nearing the end of another season but this time Mickelson will be entering the off-season from an entirely different vantage point. No longer does he have to struggle to explain why he hasn’t been able to close a deal at the majors because he owns not one, but two major championships. Both of them came with what were golf’s equivalent to walk off home runs. Two seasons, two birdies on two final holes, and two majors in the bag. Phil Mickelson isn’t a one hit wonder.

The PGA Championship: Part 2

Distance was a factor, but did not rule the PGA Championship. It is still all about hitting greens.

The Numbers GameWell, that was one of the better PGA Championships that I’ve seen in a while. I wish I could have watched the end of it, but like many other people, I was stuck at work checking the updates on the web. It went down to the wire with an up and down by Lefty at the 18th.

Now all the talk going into the PGA was about how the long hitters were going to dominate at Baltusrol. Phil did win and Tiger came back from a rough start and, in my opinion, probably would have at least been in a playoff if the round on Sunday hadn’t been suspended. Last week I even used driving stats to help predict who was going to win…which didn’t work out the way I thought. So what did the final numbers of the top 10 look like? Read on to find out.

WGC-NEC Invitational Preview

The best golfers in the world tee it up at the beautiful Firestone Country Club.

World Golf Championship LogoThe final major championship of the season is in the past, and it’s time for the golfers to push towards the season-ending Tour Championship in November. Usually the week after a major calls for weaker fields for the most part, but that won’t be the case this week. The World Golf Championship’s second event of the year is on tap and will be played at Firestone Country Club. The field for this event is made up of the following: players from the most recent Ryder Cup and President’s Cup, the top 50 golfers from the official World Golf Rankings, and winners of selected worldwide events.