Volume One Hundred Ninety Five

Kenny breaks some records, Daly owes more money, and we have a President in the Golf Hall of Fame

Hittin' the LinksHello and welcome back to another edition of Hittin’ the Links. I took last week off – we gave you the 2009 U.S. Open Final Round Live Blog instead – and got a little R and R with the family. Now I have returned to provide all of you with the best golf news on the web. So here we go.

In this newest volume of HTL we look at the newest inductee to the Golf Hall of Fame, see who the Aussies got to improve attendance at their National Championship, and find out who just made it into the British Open. Also on tap, we do a John Daly legal update, take a long look at the Club Pro Championship, and do a wrap-up of this week’s tour winners. Read on!

Mizuno MX-700 Driver Review

The MX-700: Best Mizzy Driver Ever? Maybe…

MX-700 DriverMizuno claims that “the MX-700 possesses the lowest and deepest COG, has the largest MOI, and is by far the longest and most forgiving driver in Mizuno’s history.”

After reviewing Mizuno’s MP-600 last year, I was very interested in seeing what the company would do with their “average player” follow-up to the MX-560. The knock (and the only knock in a lot of people’s minds) against the 560 was the sound. It had a very loud and unpleasant impact sound.

As the “MP” implies in Mizuno’s lineup, the MP-600 is intended as a driver for better players. It features a neutral to open face angle at address and little or no slice correction (other than Mizuno’s Fast Track weighting system, that is). The MX-700, with its “MX” moniker, is aimed at any golfer looking to maximize distance, get a little help launching the ball, and reduce, if not eliminate, a slice.

So does the MX-700 live up to its billing? Read on to find out.

Nine Holes with Lucas Glover

How much do we know about Lucas Glover? Not that much, actually.

ProfilesEvery time I hear his name I think about about Sergeant Roger Murtaugh telling Riggs (played by Mel Gibson), “I’m getting too old for this…” But that’s Danny Glover.

No, the subject today is the 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover. If you have been in a coma the last few days, his new title might come as a bit of a surprise. Still, it’s true. Lucas Glover has won a major. What must Sergio think?

Glover is kind of a study in contrasts. This is his fifth year on the PGA Tour, but to most people it seems like he just dropped off the apple cart. Glover looks like a country boy who might be found fishing with Boo Weekley between rounds or hanging under the awning of the RV with John Daly. His boyish looks and aw-shucks mannerisms seem to reinforce that impression. It seems like every photo of Glover could be captioned “Opie Taylor grown up,” and people would believe it.

2009 U.S. Open Predictions, Revisited

Have a look at how our panel of (quasi-) experts fared.

Thrash TalkOn the whole, the Staff could have done better in making its predictions for the Open. However, we made a few good calls in each category. The weather was something of a black swan, for the players, and perhaps it got us off our collective games game a bit as well. All that stopping and starting makes it hard to put together a paragraph, let alone an inspired set of predictions, after all.

A breakdown of “hits and misses” after the jump.

Golf Talk [Episode 117]

Phil Mickelson now has five runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open. Will he ever win one? Will Tiger ever win coming from behind?

Golf Talk PodcastLucas Glover wins the 109th U.S. Open Championship at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, NY. In addition to talking about Lucas, we cover Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Tiger Woods, Ricky Barnes, Mike Weir, and the rest of the field as well as a whole lot more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 117 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.

Softspikes Debuts Black Widow Tour Golf Cleats

Softspikes introduced the original Black Widow spike about a decade ago, and one would think that there isn’t much room for improvement after 10 years. What could possibly be done? Apparently a lot!

Bag DropWe hardly think about them when playing golf unless one pops out or needs to be replaced, but the cleats on our golf shoes play an important part in our inventory of golf gear. Gone are the days of the familiar click clack of metal spikes. There is no doubt that the metal spikes of the past provided better traction than the plastic spikes we use now, but the damage they caused on putting greens and clubhouse floors, combined with some clever marketing from the early manufacturers, lead to the virtual extinction of metal spikes.

2009 U.S. Open Final Round Live Blog

Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes kick the day off at -7, but can either hold off a host of others, including Phil and Tiger?

Bethpage Black 2009 U.S. OpenAnd so it is that we find ourselves with yet another thrilling Monday finish in the U.S. Open. Last year the force of nature known as Tiger Woods pushed play to Monday with a 12 foot putt nobody will forget. This year, the force of nature responsible for Monday’s play is Mother Nature and the torrential rains that have soaked Bethpage Black, resulting in low scores and more than the occasional delay.

The leaderboard at the start of today’s play looks like this:

Pos   Player        Total     Thru
---   ------        -----     ----
T1    Glover         -7         1
T1    Barnes         -7         1
T3    Mickelson      -2         2
T3    Mahan          -2         2
T3    Duval          -2         2
T3    Fisher         -2         1
 7    Weir           -1         3
T8    Woods           E         7

Can Tiger Woods post a score of -4 or so? He’d need to go -4 on his last 11 holes. He’d be there now were it not for his double-bogey-par-bogey finish to his first round. Will Phil Mickelson’s aggressive play nab him his first U.S. Open? Thus far his many birdies have been offset by bogeys and doubles. What about David Duval? Unless he shoots a final-round 85, you’ve got to consider this his coming back party regardless of where he finishes.

And finally, will either the untested Lucas Glover or Ricky Barnes manage to hold on? Stay with us as we live blog the final round of the 2009 U.S. Open from Bethpage Black.

Nike Victory Red Forged Split Cavity Irons Review

Designed by Tiger. Can you handle it?

Nike VR Forged Split Cavity IronsNike’s latest line of irons, Victory Red, comes in muscleback, split cavity, and full cavity versions. The Split Cavity set appealed most to me with its promise of workability coupled with a little more forgiveness than the muscleback.

I like to move the ball a fair amount when I play. In fact, that’s one of the things that I find most enjoyable about golf: picturing a shot and then executing it. While I don’t always pull off the shot that I’ve envisioned, when I do it’s a feeling as good or better than shooting a low score. So when I’m in the market for irons, I’m looking for a set that I can work when I want to. Still, I’m a realist… I need some forgiveness, too.

The Nike Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons (aside from having way too long of a name) are designed to help players work the ball, positioned squarely in the middle of the Victory Red workability-forgiveness continuum. Common sense would tell you that the muscleback blades offer far more workability and less forgiveness than the full cavity irons. All of that perimeter weighing in the cavity backs helps reasonably well struck shots go straight, forcing the player to make more of a concerted effort to purposefully move the ball left or right. It’s reasonable then to expect that the Split Cavity irons would offer a nice blend of workability and forgiveness.

Nike makes a point of emphasizing Tiger Woods’ role in developing the VR irons. The obvious assumption is that if the world’s number one golfer had a hand in creating the clubs, then they must be very good clubs, indeed. Let’s find out if that’s the case.

Roenick Golf Crossbow Putter Review

Adding a Crossbow putter to your bag could end up helping you drop a few more putts. And take more money from your playing partners.

Roenick Crossbow PutterIt’s fun to see some new up-and-coming equipment companies come out with some pretty innovative products designed to help lower your golf score.

One of those companies is Roenick Golf, who have come out with a pretty ingenious idea for a putter that not only incorporates some nice customization features but also an alignment-aid system that should help you drop a few more putts per round and give you some added confidence every time you stand over a putt.

I’m not the biggest mallet guy in the world, to put it mildly so even with the above features, I was pretty skeptical that the Crossbow had any chance of securing a spot in my very small putter rotation, yet alone make to my bag.

Read on to find out if I had to eat a little crow about my thoughts in using a mallet putter.