Golf Talk [Episode 058]

Sergio, in response to anything lately: “It’s not a big deal.” Pretty soon they will be, buddy.

Golf Talk PodcastPhil Mickelson walks away with The Players crystal in only his third week of working with Butch Harmon while Sean O’Hair splashes down and Tiger fails to make any waves at all. Plus this week, Sergio Garcia the cheat, Steve Pelisek of Titleist on the new 907 drivers, and a whole lot more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 058 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.

Angles of Error

It’s a wonder anyone makes putts longer than two feet given this math!

The Numbers GameWhile baseball may be a game of inches, golf, it’s been said, is a game of angles. It’s better to approach Augusta National’s 11th green from the far left edge of the fairway than, say, what used to be the far right edge of the fairway. It’s better to leave yourself an uphill putt than a downhill putt. If you play a fade, you’re better off teeing up on the right-hand side of the teebox.

Yes, in addition to being a mental exercise, a stroll in the park, and one of the few solitary sports in the world, golf is a game of angles. This week in The Numbers Game we take a look at some of those angles: how far offline can you start a three-foot putt and still expect to make it? How about a ten-foot putt? How hard is it to hit the green or fairway?

Let’s find out.

When Less is More: The Sunday Bag

Legs and double straps are indeed convenient. But it seems to me the current crop of carry bags has become a little bloated. Maybe it’s time to reconsider light.

Bag DropMy grandfather was a farmer and devout Protestant. He would not work his fields on Sunday even if looming weather threatened to wipe out his crop. Back in the day, that same ethic existed at many golf clubs and thus caddies were not permitted to work on the Sabbath.

Hence came the Sunday bag… a small, light bag originally made of canvas that players could use to carry their own clubs on the day of rest. While many believe it went the way of the dodo after Sun Mountain came out with the first stand bag back in the 1980s, it still survives.

And it still makes sense. Half the weight of a stand bag, the couple pounds it saves you (plus the weight of all the detritus it won’t hold) makes a difference. Here’s a look at some current options ranging from cheap to outrageously expensive…

Volume Ninety-Eight

You have to wonder what Rick Smith is thinking about his former pupil.

Hitting the LinksI know the PGA Tour guys play for a ton of money and that this is their livelihood and all, but man do they play slow. The biggest culprit to slow play in the United States might be watching Tour players and their pre-shot routines. Just hit the ball!

Good drama with Sean O’Hair matching Lefty down the stretch until he hit a couple of balls that needed life preservers on the most over-hyped hole in golf. And just what the heck is up with Sergio and his relief drops?

This week we have a recap of The Players, the Michelob Ultra Open, and a gracious display of charity.

Heads Up to USGA: Steelers aren’t Cowboys

Are people on the USGA web team part of The Steeler Nation or do they just dislike the Cowboys?

U.S. Open Site CloseupEarly last week I logged on to (which requires the “www.” to work) and saw something strange: a story on Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback who attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open.

That wasn’t so strange in and of itself. What was strange was the photo attached: accompanying the headline “Cowboys QB Romo Shoots 72, Misses Advancing To Sectionals By 4 Shots” is a picture of Tommy Maddox, former QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers and Cowboys are, well, less than amorous, and the USGA’s choice of lead photo must be a conscious decision due to the location of this year’s U.S. Open (Oakmont is just outside of Pittsburgh).

The story later mentions Maddox, who also attempted to qualify (and failed), but the main topic is Tony Romo. The USGA may be relatively new to the latest in technology, but it seems common sense to me that your lead image should match your headline, no? I can’t really complain much, though: I’m a Steelers fan.

A full image of the front page of as of publication is available here.

Nike CCi Forged Irons Review

Built with better players in mind, Nike’s CCi Forged were fashioned for feel, workability, and a piercing trajectory.

Nike CCi Forged HeroNike has been in the iron business for a while now and have had the chance to release a few generations of clubs. While Nike doesn’t have the long history of other club manufacturers, they are producing some very good equipment, some of which is used by the best players in the world.

Stewart Cink and K.J. Choi have in their bags Nike’s new CCi Forged irons. Built with minimal offset, a thin topline, a high level of workability, and the classic forged feel, these irons are a good complement to their cast counterpart.

Can their performance match the slick brushed-steel look? I have had a chance to give these clubs a whirl for the past several weeks and I’m ready to send their report card home in the mail.

The Players is Not a Major

The Players is not a major. It’s almost a tautology – it isn’t because it isn’t – but this week we attempt to quantify exactly why The Players is not a major.

Trap Five LogoThis week, golf fans are getting an earful about “The Players.” They’re hearing what a great course it’s played at, what a great field it has, and how it’s just the teeniest bit shorter in stature than those “other” majors: The Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship.

This week we’re going to investigate the top five reasons why “The Players” is not (and likely never will be) a major.

2007 Players Predictions

It’s prediction time again at The Sand Trap, so have a seat and enjoy the ride!

Thrash TalkThe Players has been called the “fifth major” by certain fans and members of the golf media. The Sand Trap staff members don’t consider it a fifth major, but it’s pretty damn special nonetheless. If I was a professional golfer, I’d want to win this event more than any other after the four major championships. It isn’t called “The Players” for nothing.

When big golf tournaments arrive, so does the Tiger talk. Mr. Woods narrowly missed out on winning The Masters last month, but he did win the Wachovia Championship this past weekend. He is obviously playing very well right now, and he will be the heavy favorite as usual. Woods has won The Players before, but it’s not his best event by any means. It will be interesting to see how he plays this week.

Other favorites include Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson. Singh has quietly put together another solid season and would love to win The Players on his home course. Mickelson is also playing pretty well after going through a large coaching change and a small swing change. Will one of these three win this week, or will a dark-horse like Fred Funk or Stephen Ames step up and take on the challenge? Who will disappoint, and who will surprise? Read what we think below. If you have anything to add, please comment below or discuss it in the forum.

Golf Talk [Episode 057]

Woods wins his 57th just as we publish our 57th podcast. Fate? Destiny? Or is it just a ketchup conspiracy?

Golf Talk PodcastTiger Woods wins his 57th PGA Tour event (and 9 of his last 12) at the Wachovia Championship while Vijay Singh, Rory Sabbatini, and others crumble around him at the difficult Quail Hollow. Also this week, we look forward to “The Players” and talk about this “fifth major.” All that and more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 057 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.