Golf Talk [Episode 048]

Tiger Woods will start his own golf tour the same year Johnny Miller stops talking himself up in telecasts.

PodcastCharles Howell III finally wins again, Tiger’s “streak” finally comes to a close, and Henrik Stenson, Paula Creamer, Fred Funk, and Tom Watson are all winners. The losers? Fuzzy Zoeller sued Wikipedia and square grooves will possibly be banned? This and a lot more.

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

It’s Official: USGA Proposing Groove, Club Adjustability Rules

As we surmised a couple days ago, the USGA is officially proposing a change to club grooves. If you’re a “skilled” player and play in competitions, say goodbye to your irons and wedges in two years.

Groove CloseupThe USGA today announced it is proposing two new rules changes. The first will revise grooves, the second will relax rules on adjustability so clubs can be better fitted to players.

The proposed groove revision would require all clubs to be made to this standard after January 1, 2010. However, the USGA will recommend a “Condition of Competition” go into effect January 1, 2009 that would allow committees to require newly conforming clubs in events for “highly skilled players.”

The new adjustability rule would go into effect January 1, 2008. Right now the rule only allows changes in weight. Thus, the new rule would likely make adjusting lofts, lies, or shaft flex possible, just not during a “stipulated round.”

If you’d like to discuss this, you can do so in the comments of this post, in our forum, or in the comments of this week’s Bag Drop on the grooves issue.

Young Guns Finally Reaching Potential

Several PGA Tour young guns are finally starting to reach their unlimited potential.

Thrash TalkThe WGC Accenture Match Play Championship was very fun to watch as usual. Some people may have been bored with the final between Henrik Stenson and Geoff Ogilvy, but it was actually one of the most exciting championship matches in the event’s history. Both golfers are very calm under pressure, and both are now ranked inside the world’s top ten. Don’t be surprised if both of these guys win a major championship this season.

Too Little Too Late? The USGA Revisits Square Grooves

Ever since the Ping debacle in the 1980s, the USGA has kept a wary eye out for lawyers as they’ve tiptoed around equipment rules changes. Here they go again.

Bag DropWith the USGA’s recent announcement that they’ve glommed onto yet another corporate sponsor (I wonder how many Open tickets American Express and Lexus bigwigs are getting?) ostensibly to help with legal bills, it would appear golf’s ruling body in the U.S. is feeling frisky.

Last August they issued a 104-page report to club manufacturers indicating that currently permissible grooves allow the game’s best players to impart more spin on the ball from light rough than should be acceptable. While they promised no immediate action, it seems obvious they seriously want to consider an equipment rules change.

My question, and the question of many others, is whether a rules change on grooves is necessary or even advisable. Are they making rules for the top 0.5% of players in the world, or for they rest of us?

Volume Eighty-Seven

This week we review the Accenture Match Play, Cancun, eBay and a Wikipedia entry worthy of a lawsuit.

Henrick Stenson and Geoff Ogilvy battled it out for match play supremacy over the weekend. I’m betting NBC wasn’t too happy with that lineup.

This week we have a recap of the Accenture Match Play, the PGA Tour in Cancun, a chance to own one of “Tiger’s putters” and Fuzzy Zoeller shoots one across the bow of Wikipedia.

Velocity Wipes Review

Velocity Wipes are a product intended to make cleaning golf clubs simple and convenient. I found that they delivered on their promise in almost every category.

Velocity Wipes HeroThere are a plethora of accessories available to make you golf life easier. Some meet expectations and some don’t. Velocity Wipes are an item intended to make cleaning golf clubs easier.

Somebody was going to come up with a product like this sooner or later. Velocity Wipes fills a niche: an easy to use golf club cleaning product. While they can’t do anything for bag chatter or dings, let’s see if they do a good job of cleaning post-round grit and grime or if they’re just a glorified wet-nap.

Basic Construction
Each wipe is approximately 9 x 13 inches unfolded. They come out of the dispenser folded once, just like a baby’s diaper towelettes. The wipes look somewhat like a blue paper towel, but are made of a more fabric-like material and are much more durable than all but the strongest of paper towels.

The Golf Channel’s WinZone

The Golf Channel debuted their Win Zone statistical system during the Mercedes-Benz Championship. Is it really as accurate as they say it is?

The Numbers GameI don’t know about all of you, but numbers really tickle my fancy… especially new types of numbers! While watching the debut of The Golf Channel’s coverage of the PGA Tour, I noticed they had a new number on their leader board. I came to find out this was their Win Zone statistical systems which output how the system thought each player would finish in the tournament based on the information it had at hand as well as two years prior.

2007 Accenture Match Play Predictions

Find out who will contend, pretend, and surprise at this week’s Accenture Match Play Championship.

Thrash TalkIt only took Charles Howell III four and a half years to win his second PGA Tour event, but the long wait was well worth it. Howell III caught and outlasted one of the world’s best golfers, and he did it at one of the best courses. He had flirted with victory twice this season, and the third time was definitely the charm. I’m glad I never hopped off the bandwagon!

Now that the personal boasting portion of the article is out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. One of my favorite events on the PGA Tour is the Accenture Match Play Championship, and it starts tomorrow. All the big guns are in the field this year, and it should be a shootout to the finish. All eyes will be on Tiger Woods as he attempts to win his eighth consecutive PGA Tour event.

Titleist Launches New Pro V1 and Pro V1x Golf Balls

Here comes the next generation of top line golf balls from the industry leader.

Bag DropEver since well before I took up the game 47 years ago, Titleist has been the most popular ball among the best players and, for most years, the best seller. That’s a remarkable run when you consider all the changes in design and manufacturing over those many years.

It’s also amazing when you consider the many competitors who have come and gone as well as the many who still scrape for a sliver of market share. According to Golf Datatech, a market research company, last year the Pro V1 and Pro V1x had an on-course market share greater than Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, TaylorMade, Top-Flite, and Maxfli combined.

That kind of market dominance is no accident. Titleist rules because they continue to refine and innovate and produce a superior product. So, based on their overwhelming market share, here’s the story on the balls most of us will be playing this season…