John Q. Hammon Hotel Classic Preview

Annika Sorenstam headlines at the 2005 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic. The American “triple-threat” will be there to try and stop her from defending her trophy.

Hammons ImageAlthough Annika Sorenstam will be defending her title this week at the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic all eyes will be gravitating to the young Americans who triumphed at this year’s Solheim Cup. Annika may be the tournament favorite but triple-threats Creamer, Gulbis and Kim will probably steal the show.

Nine of the top-ten money earners will compete among the 144 tour professionals slated for the final field. The $1 million purse is smaller than at other championships but the Cystic Fibrosis Jr. Achievement Charity is a good cause. Also whenever Sorenstam is in the field you’ll most likely see the best of the best challenging in an attempt to topple her from her number-one perch.

Titleist Debuts Revamped News Site with RSS

Titleist today introduces a brand new “News” section of their site with several RSS feeds to keep users apprised of the latest.

TitleistTitleist today unveiled a new, content-rich news site and several (and we do mean several) RSS feeds to deliver information directly and immediately to customers (and without worry of spam, updating email accounts, etc.).

The new Titleist News site contains feeds for equipment categories and company news as well as other features like Ernie Els’ “On the Road with Ernie,” “Lessons from the Pros,” and “A Quick 9.”

84 Lumber Classic Preview

Ten Presidents Cup members tee it up just one week before the big match-play event.

84 Lumber Classic LogoWith the Presidents Cup just one week away, the 84 Lumber Classic is this week’s stop on the PGA Tour. The field is very strong, including seven members from the United States team and three members from the International team. These ten golfers want to keep their golf games in great shape heading into the Presidents Cup next week. And besides, the course is one of the toughest on tour and has been rated by Golf Digest as one of the best places to play in the United States.

Salute to the Solheim Cup

The Solheim Cup definitely gained at least one new fan this past weekend.

Thrash TalkIn last week’s Thrash Talk, I talked a little bit about the Ryder Cup. This week, however, I’m going to discuss the Ryder Cup’s female counterpart, the Solheim Cup. The event was this past weekend as most golf fans know, and it was honestly the first one I have ever been interested in. I have been trying to make an effort to get more involved in watching women’s golf, and the Solheim Cup definitely gave me many more reasons to become a bigger fan.

The Golf Channel’s Solheim Snooze

The Golf Channel’s coverage of the 2005 Solheim Cup left a lot to be desired, turning one of the most exciting sporting events of the year into one of the most boring.

The Golf ChannelThe Golf Channel served as the exclusive home for the Solheim Cup this year, providing coverage from 9am until as late as 8pm on each of the three days of play. They covered the press conferences beforehand and had post- and pre-game shows nearly 100% dedicated to Solheim Cup coverage.

The 2005 matches were some of the most exciting ever witnessed. The U.S. team fell behind early 5-3, but pulled back to 6-6 and then 8-8 entering singles play. Needing 14.5 points to win the Solheim Cup back, the first five matches included blistering play by Paula Creamer and Laura Diaz en route to an eventual 15.5-12.5 American victory.

The 2005 Solheim Cup rivals or surpasses even the (blowout that was the) 2004 Ryder Cup in terms of excitement – despite the fact that it’s women’s golf. Yet The Golf Channel’s coverage rivaled only public access programming in its appeal. Could the coverage have been any worse? It’s tough to imagine.

Here Come the Second-Generation 460cc Drivers

I’ve already noted that big steps forward in driver design have been made difficult by the 460cc size limitation. Here’s a look at how three top equipment manufacturers have come up with new products that replace exisiting 460cc drivers.

Bag DropThree highly anticipated drivers have recently been unveiled. The Ping G5 and Cleveland Launcher Ti460 drivers are already available at some retailers, and the Nike SasQuatch driver is expected in shops before Thanksgiving – and is getting a big push from Nike.

So these drivers are bigger and bolder than their predecessors, right? Oh, wait, all three models are replacing drivers that were already at the 460cc maximum imposed by the USGA and R&A. There goes a big selling point. Can drivers be better without being bigger?

Volume Twenty-Six

Get your week started off right by checking out these links.

Hittin' the LinksI totally forgot about golf this weekend, and that’s the first time that’s happened since I can remember. Well I guess I didn’t totally forget about it, I did catch an unpleasant sight of Laura Davies’ rear as I was channel surfing. But most of the weekend, I was wrapped up in college football (did anyone see my alma-mater Ohio University beat Pittsburgh in OT?) and the U.S. Open finals (tennis). I think Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player ever.

Anyway, enough about my weekend. Let’s look at some links.

Team USA Reclaims Solheim Cup

The United States wins the Solheim Cup after beginning the day all square with Team Europe.

paula_creamer_solheim.jpgHaving the delicious distinction of never losing the Solheim Cup on their own soil, Team USA did not disappoint today, claiming victory over the Europeans 15.5 to 12.5. This ninth rendition of the Solheim Cup had all the drama of a major PGA Tour event.

Starting the day even at eight points apiece following a tremendous comeback in the Saturday afternoon fourball matches, the United States team had the confidence necessary to take on their competitors in singles match-play action earlier this morning. Triple-threat rookies Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, and Christina Kim stole the show with American flags painted on their faces and ankles and confidence in their abilities. Walking the course pumping up the crowd, the girls’ themselves chanted “USA, USA” making it virtually impossible for the European team to stay focused on their shots and making the gallery into a cheering squad for the Americans.

Misunderstood Rules

The Rules of Golf aren’t terribly complex, but there are some tricky ones out there. Which five rules are the most misunderstood rules in the game?

Trap Five LogoThe Rules of Golf are not terribly complex. Complexity is naturally reserved for the Decisions on the Rules of Golf! </sarcasm> Jesting aside, the rules are fairly simple so long as some basic concepts are understood. Those basic concepts include what to do when your ball finds a few different areas (hazards, ground under repair, the green, “through the green,” etc.), the idea and definitions of equity, fairness, and intent, and the pervading rule to play the ball as it lies.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who insist that they’re playing “golf” despite not playing by the rules of golf. Let’s look at some of the more misunderstood rules of the game we love so much.