Golf Talk [Episode 027]

It’s U.S. Open week, and though our full wrap-up will come in next week’s episode, we touch on a few key topics this week.

PodcastRonald McDonald was in the house, but Se Ri Pak walked away with her first major in quite awhile, and in a playoff over Karrie Webb no less. Plus, a bunch of U.S. Open chatter, including Tiger missing the cut, Chris Berman doing a horrible job announcing, Johnny Miller, Phil Mickelson, Merion, Herbert Warren Wind, Oakmont and furrowed bunkers, Tadd Fujikawa, and a whole lot more. Tune in to this episode of Golf Talk for more.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 027 as an MP4 file. For those who want to subscribe to us in iTunes, click here.

For this week’s Show Notes – links to articles we discuss in the show and additional information – just read on.

Titleist Forged 775.CB Irons Review

The 775.CB irons may have “Titleist” and “forged” stamped on each clubhead, but they also have “game improvement” written all over them.

Titleist 775 HeroTitleist is undeniably one of the leaders in irons for better players. Since going to an all-forged irons lineup a couple years ago, the company introduced several blade, muscle-back, and cavity-forged irons that have devoted followers.

But the better-player irons market is relatively small, and the big money is in the bigger game-improvement irons. Titleist’s latest attempt to muscle in on the Callaways and TaylorMades in the game-improvement iron category is with the Forged 775.CB iron, which hit golf shops this spring. I had the chance to try a set to see how these new irons stack up against other irons for higher handicappers.

Seeing Titleist irons in my golf bag gives me a warm feeling, even if it’s the glow of nostalgia. After playing tiny forged blades while learning the game, my first cavity back irons were a great set of Titleist DCI Golds that I played for several years. Those cast stainless steel irons were plenty forgiving, but still had a crisp design that said “I’m a serious golfer.” After the follow up to the DCI Black (less offset) and Gold irons, the DCI Oversize, Titleist ceded the high-handicapper iron market to sister brand Cobra.

Winged Foot Major Champions

Winged Foot Golf Club has played host to 6 major championships including this year’s U.S. Open. Lets take a peek at each winner’s performance.

ProFiles2006 is the fifth time that Winged Foot has hosted a U.S. Open. It has proved to be a stern test of golf and a perfect stop for the U.S. Open. It’s doglegs, narrow fairways, deep bunkers, and challenging greens have tested professionals and amateurs alike for many years.

This week we’re looking at previous major winners at Winged Foot. In keeping with the nature of the U.S. Open a little blood has been spilled in the process of crowning a champion in past U.S. Opens at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Nike Slingshot OSS Irons Review

The Nike Slingshot OSS irons were on the Golf Digest 2006 Hot List, but do they really belong?

Nike Slingshot OSS HeroGood iron play is often overlooked, but other than putting, it could very well be the most important part of a golfer’s game. I’ve only had two sets of irons since I started playing golf in the summer of 1997. I had a set of knock-off Cobra clubs called “King Snake” irons that got me through my first seven or eight years of golf. They were all I could afford, and I was happy with them.

Last year, I started playing with the big boys. I got a set of Titleist Forged 804.0S irons, and I’ve been a new golfer ever since. The move to brand-name irons has improved my play and outlook, and needless to say, it will be tough to find a set of irons worthy of replacing the 804.0S.

That’s where the Nike Slingshot OSS irons come into play. I’ve been playing with these irons for the past few months, and I’m definitely happy with what I’ve seen so far. The Slingshot OSS irons were on the Golf Digest 2006 Hot List, so they were very heralded from the start. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

The Modern Open and Majors

The U.S. Open became the U.S. Open in 1974 with the Massacre at Winged Foot. Since then, the winners have not suffered as much but it has easily remained the most difficult major no matter the decade.

The Numbers GameIn 1974, Sandy Tatum was in charge of setting up Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. A quote he gave that week has become a mantra for all succeeding Opens: “We’re not trying to humiliate the best players in the world. We’re simply trying to identify who they are.”

To his credit, the USGA did just that. It took the massacre at Winged Foot to stamp it down. There really isn’t a question now that the U.S. Open has been and is now the toughest golf tournament in the world with the best regularly surfacing to the top. This week in The Numbers Game, I’ll look at events leading up to and after the defining moment of U.S. Open golf and also compare this major with the others since that point in history.

2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Preview

The U.S. Open returns to Winged Foot in what is sure to be one fabulous championship.

Winged Foot U.S. Open LogoIt’s finally U.S. Open week. I’ve been waiting for this tourney for a long while now. In my humble opinion, the U.S. Open is the hardest test in golf. Sure, The Masters is very pretty, the British is very windy, and the PGA is very exciting, but none are as brutal and more complete a test of golf as the U.S. Open. I look forward to this week all year and can’t wait for the action to begin. Let’s get started with the breakdown.

2006 U.S. Open Predictions

My fellow Sand Trap staff members join me this week for U.S. Open predictions.

Thrash TalkU.S. Open week has finally arrived, and The Sand Trap is the place to be for top-notch predictions. None of us picked Phil Mickelson to win The Masters earlier this year, but we are ready to bounce back and get things right this time around.

Winged Foot is the site of the 2006 U.S. Open, and it appears to be in great shape. This tournament will once again test the nerves of the world’s best, and par will be a great score. The rough has received the most attention so far, so it’s fairways and greens once again. The golfer who consistently hits fairways and greens along with rolling in a few putts here and there will more than likely walk away the 2006 U.S. Open champion.

The Sand Trap staff members have had plenty of time to contemplate the options, but the time for thinking is over. It’s time for all of us to put up or shut up. As always, feel free to post your predictions below or discuss them in our forum.

The Other Stuff In Your Bag

Like a Boy Scout, a serious golfer needs to be prepared. Here’s a look at some necessities and some nice-to-haves.

Bag DropAfter a couple decades of using nothing but a carry bag, I succumbed to the reality that I was riding more than walking. So I added a staff bag to my arsenal of equipment. It’s great. It’s much easier to pull and replace clubs and best of all it holds a ton of stuff. But I still use my Hoofer when I do walk, when I have a caddie, and when I’m playing in a competition (the staff bag just makes too much of a commercial statement in an amateur event to my way of thinking).

I quickly grew tired of transferring stuff back and forth between the bags so I resolved to stock each one independently. In the process I realized that my carry bag was not as lean and mean as it could have been. I also realized that the cart bag would allow me to hold some things that could occasionally come in quite handy. Here’s what I finally decided on…

Volume Sixty-Three

Oh baby, nine more links for your random enjoyment.

You know what to expect from Hittin’ the Links by now. A whole bunch of links, quite unrelated, except for the fact that I found them interesting enough to throw them together in the same pile. This week: The Worst Lie Ever, Erica Blasberg, Range Mat Rant, Aaron Baddelly, Vijay, and more! Enjoy.