Golf Talk [Episode 061]

Angel Cabrera had an up-and-down final round, but it ended after 69 shots and with the U.S. Open trophy.

Golf Talk PodcastThe U.S. Open at Oakmont is over, and Angel Cabrera dusts Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk in the final round. Angel also birdied his last hole Friday to bump Phil Mickelson from making the cut. Full analysis of the course, the players, and the 107th U.S. Open and more in this week’s episode of Golf Talk.

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

Tiger is a Father

Sam Alexis Woods was born early on June 18, less than 24 hours after Tiger disappointingly finished T2 at the U.S. Open.

Elin and TigerTiger Woods announced today on that early on June 18, his wife Elin gave birth to the couple’s first child. They’ve named the girl Sam Alexis Woods and Elin and the baby are resting comfortably.

Tiger has said previously he may not play in the British Open as the due date was reportedly around July 10. If accurate, Sam arrived three weeks early. We hope all is well, and on a selfish note, we hope Tiger will play at Carnoustie in a month.

2007 U.S. Open Scores

How did Oakmont play? How penal was the rough? How tricky were the slick greens? Find out.

The Numbers GameWe all know how hard the U.S. Open is, and we knew how hard the it was going to be at Oakmont Country Club, but did it live up to expectations?

This week we’ll take a look at a few of the more interesting statistics from the 107th playing of the U.S. Open.

Wedge Bounce and Grind: What it is and Why it Matters

Players preparing for this year’s U.S. Open made a rush on the equipment vans to come up with wedges with little bounce and fresh grooves. Here’s why.

Bag DropAs we saw this weekend, Oakmont Country Club proved itself capable of growing some of the toughest, most gnarly, luscious grass this side of Kentucky. So while some are calling Oakmont the true victor this year, I think it might have been modern agronomy that really won.

To deal with the combination of deep, thick rough as well as the extremely tight lies on fairways and in the runoff areas around some greens, players had to resort to wedges that could more easily cut through the thick stuff and not bounce off the tightly mowed turf and blade the ball (as happened to Tiger at the third hole Sunday).

Many opted to use wedges with less bounce and a grind that produced a sharper leading edge. Here’s what that means and why you might consider doing the same depending on the courses you play.

Volume One Hundred Two

At the end of the day, Oakmont took the best golfers in the world out behind the woodshed for a beatdown.

Hitting the LinksThe USGA protected their precious score of par and the Oakmont County Club members must have had evil grins on their faces as their course took the best golfers in the world and smacked them silly.

Only one golfer broke was able to break par twice over four days (Angel Cabrera), Saturday’s leader Aaron Baddeley throws up a final round 80, and Tiger Woods still has not won a major when trailing.

This week we have a recap of the U.S. Open plus a Father’s Day story that golfers can really appreciate.

U.S. Open at Oakmont Journal: Sunday

Angel Cabrera wins the 107th U.S. Open. Here’s my account of a 14-hour day in the 18th hole grandstand.

2007 U.S. OpenWhat follows is a transcription of my notes from the grandstands near the 18th green on Sunday at the U.S. Open.

4:30 am – I showered the night before, so I wake up, put my clothes on, deflate my bed for the week, and get in the car for the short drive to Oakmont.

5:10 am – I arrive at my destination for the day – the grandstands overlooking the 18th – and find that I’ve been beaten to my ideal spot by six people. The sun isn’t up yet, and people are in the 18th grandstands. My ideal spot was the back left corner, which offers views of the ninth/practice green, the 10th, 12th, and 15th tees, and the 11th, 14th, and 18th greens. With binoculars, you can see even more including the second, 15th, and 17th greens. I will be here for the next 14 hours.

U.S. Open at Oakmont Journal: Friday

Phil plays the “bang and blame” game, Tiger hacks his way around the easy second hole and makes perhaps the best five I’ve seen in a long time, and Angel Cabrera relies on the Big Break to hold the lead?

2007 U.S. OpenI attended the U.S. Open yesterday and sat behind the first green for about five hours. Then I went to the ninth green for about three hours.

I saw one birdie: a chip-in by Justin Rose at the first. I saw Ian Poulter’s long putt from off the green nearly fall and Shingo Katayama’s chip from the fairway rattle the pin before rolling a few feet away. He would later miss the par putt.

Friday I sat behind the 18th green. Though the hole was blocked by a large tree, reasonable views of the tenth, twelfth, and fifteenth tees as well as the ninth green (if you’re on the railing). Sitting in the shadows of the trees, and with the wind whipping, the location was less than desirable: walking the course until about noon is advised for those coming on Saturday or Sunday.

Anyway, here are my observations…

Callaway FT-i/FT-5 Driver Review

Callaway Golf has followed up the successful FT-3 driver with two new titanium/composite models. Is one of them worthy of a place in your bag?

Callaway FT-i/FT-5 HeroA pair of new drivers from Callaway Golf hit golf shops earlier this spring. Though they share the company’s Fusion multimaterial technology, the two 460cc big sticks couldn’t be much more different.

The FT-5 is a refined, evolutionary update to the FT-3 driver from mid-2005. Meanwhile, the FT-i (the i is for inertia) is something completely different, sporting the aggressively odd square shape that has, along with the Nike Sumo2 and Nickent’s 3DX Square, drawn so much attention to square-shaped drivers this year. The differences are more than cosmetic, as each driver will appeal to a certain type of player.

Read on to see which one might be best for you.

U.S. Open Playoffs

Golf’s biggest names have been associated with the U.S. Open. Some of the greatest U.S. Open battles have been fought in playoffs. Here are the top five.

Trap Five LogoThe USGA’s U.S. Open is, without question, the most difficult tournament in golf. Since its inception in 1895 thirty-two winners have been decided in playoffs. The first playoff was won by Willie Anderson of Scotland in 1901. An eventual four-time U.S. Open winner, Anderson won three U.S. Opens in a row from 1903 to 1905. It is a record that still stands. Hard living Anderson died at age thirty of “hard living.”

What Willie Anderson and eventual 1906 U.S. Open victor Alex Smith did well over one-hundred years ago in their playoff has been repeated many times.