The Tiger Effect

All Tiger All the Time

Trap Five LogoWell, Tiger’s back (though he’ll be taking the weekend off). I, for one, am happy that he’s back. Sure it was interesting to see more press about some of the other guys on Tour, but they just don’t have the same impact that Tiger does, on Tour and beyond.

We’ve experienced a beehive of buzz (or maybe several) in the week since Tiger announced that he would participate in the WGC-Accenture Match Play. That Samuel L. Jackson spot on Golf Channel was out less than 12 hours after the announcement. Nike wasn’t far behind with its new “The Good Life” where five pros live it up until you-know-who walks back into the locker room. The marketing machine runs at full speed when Tiger is involved.

I Wish I Could Like Phil Mickelson, But I Can’t

Let the supporters of Philip Alfred ready their arms..

Thrash TalkMentioning Lefty in my column last week seems to have a beneficial effect on the golfer’s play. When, last week, I jokingly suggested Mickelson had lost the ability to compete at the highest level, he went out and won the Northern Trust Open, collecting a cool 1.1 million dollars in the process. I only make reference to the preceding as a way of saying “Phil, I hope the following published objection to you makes you richer and more victorious.” Recent history, and the fallacy of false cause, suggest it will.

It isn’t that I dislike Phil personally, it’s just that, representationally or symbolically I find him tough to stomach. It isn’t as though I haven’t tried to like the guy. I have. However, despite my best efforts, I find myself rooting against him, amused by his two way miss off the tee and quite delighted when his umpteenth unnecessary flop shot doesn’t come off as planned.

Golf Talk [Episode 107]

Did you hear? Tiger’s back. Seriously, you didn’t hear? Is that even possible?

Golf Talk PodcastTiger is back, Michelle Wie finishes second, Phil Mickelson repeats at Riviera, Dustin Johnson wins in a rainout, the LPGA finds a home on the Golf Channel, 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 107 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.

Contest! Win a Leupold GX-I or GX-II!

Win a GX-I or GX-II laser range finder from Leupold and The Sand Trap .com!

Leupold GX-IWe’ve teamed with Leupold to give away a Leupold GX-I, a GX-II, and three super-spiffy hats.

To enter, we’ve setup a page at with a few trivia questions about the Leupold GX-I and GX-II. Entering is simple: fill out the form, answering the questions correctly, and submit it. We’ll randomly choose from the correct answers to give away the prizes.

Every answer can be found at the Leupold golf rangefinder site, our review, or elsewhere on the Web.

Click here to visit our contest page. And hurry – the contest ends on March 11.

Srixon Golf Releases Z Star Golf Balls

Srixon adds an offering to the master list of golf balls with a “X” in the name.

Bag DropSrixon Golf has quietly gone out and added some pretty hefty firepower to their tour lineup and now they are gunning for premium ball supremacy with their new Z Star lineup.

Featuring two distinct balls, the Z Star and the Z Star X, Srixon is boasting about “switching to a better ball” with its marketing and by looking at the technology behind the Z Star line, they very well could have a contender for best in class for the premium ball category.

Read on as we check out what makes the Z Star tick.

Volume One Hundred Seventy Nine

Phil Mickelson finds his game, Tiger is back, and argyle is cool again?

Hittin' the LinksTiger is back! Tiger is back! Hey Sand Trappers, in case you haven’t heard yet, Tiger Woods is again playing golf professionally. Jeez, next to the inauguration this news has to be the biggest story of the year. We do love our Tiger Woods, and here at Hittin’ the Links I am no different. I mean I am as happy as anyone to see Eldrick again, but there are other things going on in the golf world.

Speaking of other things, HTL is again on the job bringing you the best golf stories from around the world. In this volume, we first get Tiger’s return out of our systems, then we turn our attention to an amateur champion at the Johnnie Walker Classic, and check out some golf fashion. Also, we see how Mickelson did at Riviera, look into Freddy’s sad week, and do a recap of the rest of the events around golf. Read on!

Dan Crotty Swing Analysis

Extra movement and power leaks hold Dan Crotty back from reaching his potential. A few small adjustments may lead to large improvements in his power and efficiency.

Swing CheckDan Crotty is an 18 handicapper who took up the game at the age of about 45. Now approaching 60, Dan – a lefty – fights either pulling the ball to the right or hitting large slices that don’t go very far with the driver.

Having spent a lifetime doing a fair amount of manual labor, Dan’s flexibility isn’t always quite what it could be – stiff knees, hips, and a back impair the timing of his swing.

Dan says he works on his ball position as well as not collapsing his lead (right) arm at impact.

Most Impactful Innovations in Golf

Talking ’bout a revolution. Several really.

Trap Five LogoA recent forum post by a Carmelo Anthony fan got me thinking about the how the game of golf got to the point it is today. Respondents posted a number of very good candidates: the hybrid club, the 460cc driver, the sand wedge, and more.

A surprise in the thread on golf’s top inventions/innovations of the last 100 years was the number of people who included the backpack or two-strap carry bag in their lists of the top inventions/innovations in golf over the past 100 years. Not to dismiss the impact of the modern strap systems for carry bags, they have undoubtedly saved many backs and just generally made the game more enjoyable for others, but I don’t feel that it’s revolutionized the game. It has made it more comfortable to be sure.

The golf tee would have made my list, but the modern tee is between 110-120 years old and thus missed the cutoff. Before the tee was developed, players placed their golf balls on little piles of sand to begin play on a hole. Imagine trying to hit a 460cc driver off a pile of sand! No thanks.

The game of golf has changed tremendously in the past 100 years. Here are the innovations that I think most changed the game.

Why Do We Do This to Ourselves?

What does golf spell backwards?

Thrash TalkIf we can agree, at this point, that Phil Mickelson has completely lost his ability to play respectable golf, that he will never challenge Tiger Woods for the preeminent position in world golf, and that he may never contend again for a major, we can also agree that we don’t expect Mr. Mickelson to hang up his spikes (yes, he still wears metal, to “feel connected to the ground,” no doubt) anytime soon.

None of this may be true, this could be Phil’s best year ever, but even if the man who was once the leading hope for American golf (pre-Woods, 40 pounds lighter) were unable to break 76 regularly and Callaway laughed him out of his sponsorship deal, he would likely still continue playing golf… why is this?