Volume Two Hundred Sixty Four

John Daly whines, Tiger makes a funny, and Bubba takes home the hardware!

Hittin' the LinksHello golf fans and thank you for joining me for another round of Hittin’ the Links. It was an exciting final round we got to see at the Farmers Insurance Open. I always like it when tournaments come down to the very final shot with several players in contention. Congratulations to Bubba Watson, he made some crazy clutch putts coming down the stretch. It could be a breakout year for the left-handed bomber.

In this newest edition of HTL we begin with another ridiculous John Daly story, move on to more negative Tiger news, and find out how Tiger actually made a funny. Also on tap, we investigate Tim Finchem’s request to the USGA, see what happens when Jamie Sadlowski meets watermelon, and do a wrap-up of the weeks events. Read on!

Miura CB-501 and Blade 2007 Irons Review

Say the word “Miura” around equipment-knowledgeable golfers and you’ll learn all you need to know about the mystique in a moment or two.

Miura CB-501 and Blade 2007 AddressIf you’re into golf equipment, forged irons, Tiger Woods, or even perhaps Japanese samurai swords, you’ve probably heard about Katsuhiro Miura (or his golf clubs).

Though the common belief that Miura once forged samurai swords before moving on to golf clubs is a myth, it’s true that Miura grew up in the area region of Japan famous for its steelwork and sword-making.

It’s also true that though players like Tiger Woods have played clubs that have said “Mizuno” or “Titleist” or “Nike” on them, many of his clubs have been forged and shaped by the legend himself.

Katsuhiro Miura and the clubs he produces are surrounded by an almost mythic aura. The reverence people will show to a company like Mizuno or Scratch Golf ratchets up significantly when Miura is mentioned.

It all seems like a lot to live up to. Do the clubs live up to the hype? Let’s find out. I’ve spent a few months with both the CB-501 and the Blade 2007 models.

The Hot List: How to Improve It

Here are our suggestions on how to turn this issue into a the ultimate resource for someone buying new equipment.

Bag DropWe’re not going to waste much time here with introductions, just a quick background. Last week, we took a look at a lot of the common criticisms of Golf Digest’s Hot List, and received a lot of quality feedback from the staff and forum members here.

The bottom line is that subscribers and newsstand customers want to see a change. As one of, if not the biggest name in golf media, you’ve got the money and resources to give us something better, something more helpful. What is it exactly that we want? Well, it’s funny you should ask – I’ve got those answers for you right here.

Volume Two Hundred Sixty Three

Tiger slips to #3, the Europeans deal with a cheater, and Paddy gets DQ’ed.

Hittin' the LinksHappy Monday to you and welcome to another volume of Hittin’ the Links. Well it happened again, this time on the European Tour, a viewer caught an infraction and reported it to the powers that be. Paddy took it well though, and even gave a junior clinic on the proper way to mark a ball. Some people could learn from his attitude.

In this edition of HTL we begin with a look at Tiger’s fall from the world rankings, find out who will be leading the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams, and check out the new president of the RCGA. Also, we investigate Paddy’s disqualification, check into the banning of a player on the European Tour, and do a wrap-up of the week’s events. Read on!

Desert Duel: Dubai Deals Blow to PGA’s Hope

The European Tour stop makes the once-noteworthy Hope Classic an afterthought.

Thrash TalkIf you needed any more evidence of where the game of pro golf sits in 2011, look no further than this week’s two headlining tournaments.

The PGA Tour returns to the mainland after two ho-hum weeks in Hawaii for the once ballyhooed Bob Hope Classic. It should be a fan favorite, with movie stars, musicians and athletes playing alongside some of the best golfers in the world. A big chunk of the country is buried in snow and craving a golf fix, even if it’s staring at pretty green fairways during the commercials of the NFL playoffs.

So where are four of the top five players in the world teeing it up this week? In the desert of the United Arab Emerites, half a world away, at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell will be dueling for the $2 million purse, in a field that reads more like a major than a standard stop on the European Tour.

The Hot List: Hot or Not?

January means Golf Digest’s annual Hot List issue. But is it really a helpful resource, or closer to one large advertisement?

Bag DropWe’ve all been there – it’s time for a new set of irons, or perhaps a new driver. Old reliable really isn’t getting it done anymore, and deep down, though you’d never admit it, you’re jealous of some of your buddies and the shiny new clubs in their bags. So you take to the Internet, in search of a new driver, but after a 5-10 minutes, you’re quickly overwhelmed with options, and totally unsure of what your next move should be. Of course, you could take a trip to your nearest retailer and ask for opinions, but you never really know if they have a hidden agenda going on, like if they sell one more R9, they get a free trip to Sawgrass or something like that. It sure would be nice to go to that store with four or five options in mind and then test them all to see what works best.

Hot List 2011

Then the thought hits you – Golf Digest‘s annual Hot List. Of course! Back in the day, it was a great place to find what’s new, and what’s hot. So you then run out, pick it up, and hurry back home to see what valuable info it holds inside. A short while later, you’re left even more dejected than before. Why? Follow along to find out.

Volume Two Hundred Sixty Two

DJ denies, Alexis gets rejected, and Brittany misses the cut.

Hittin' the LinksHappy Rev. Martin Luther King Day Sand Trappers and welcome to another edition of Hittin’ the Links. Anyone else wish they were in Hawaii this week? Shorts and short sleeves were the dress code for spectators of the Sony Open. It must be nice.

In this newest volume of HTL we begin with a look at the relationship denials coming from DJ’s camp, then turn our attention to the plight of young Alexis Thompson, and investigate the sale of some Masters Memorabilia. Also, we check out the North Korean Golf Tour, see what happens when aviation and golf mix, and do a wrap-up of the Sony Open. Read on!

Five Funniest Golf Commercials

In a world where commercials consistently put me to sleep, a select few rise above the rest.

Trap Five LogoGolf is a game that anyone can play, which makes is extremely popular in the 18-35 year-old group that advertisers covet. Because of this golf commercials flood our TVs, airing on all channels and coming from a multitude of companies. It sometimes seems that you are just as likely to see a FedEx golf commercial on HGTV as you are to see a This is SportsCenter commercial with Tiger Woods on ESPN.

Golf commercials are all different. Like most humorous commercials, the funny ones all draw from some sort of irony. For example, this FedEx Commercial is funny because at first you expect the employee riding the golf cart to be Jim, the guy who is “really into golf.” But no, he isn’t Jim. There is actually someone more into golf than the guy who drives a golf cart around the office all day.

Alright, that sounds kind of lame now that I explain it, but how about this one? Throughout the years, Tiger Woods has made tons of commercials for EA Sports and his own Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games. This one wasn’t a commercial per se (more of a promotional video), but when a user of the video game told EA that the game had a glitch (where Tiger can play golf on water), they responded. In this video, Tiger hits a golf ball onto a lily pad, and decides to go in after it. He takes off his socks, tests the water for stability, and strolls over to his golf ball where he proceeds to wedge one in from what appears to be between 50 and 100 yards. The next year, for Tiger ’10, Rocco Mediate tried the same feat. After removing his shoes and socks, he takes a step or two into the water and then sinks, failing mightily. Though different from the much simpler FedEx commercial, these two both get a few laughs because of the contrast between Tiger and Rocco. Without any further ado, here are my five funniest golf commercials.

Ten Questions for 2011 #5: Will the U.S. Lose the Presidents Cup?

Will the International team win the Presidents Cup for the first time since 1998?

Thrash TalkThe Presidents Cup has and probably always will be overshadowed by the Ryder Cup, but despite the United States dominance in recent memory, the event has still become one to look forward to. It gives golf fans a great opportunity to see guys like Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Camilo Villegas, etc. play in a team competition every other year. Add in the extra day of competition compared to the Ryder Cup, and that’s a double bonus.

Other than the tie at the 2003 Presidents Cup, the United States has won every competition except 1998. That one was played at Royal Melbourne in Australia, and it just so happens the 2011 Presidents Cup will return to the land down under. International Captain Greg Norman will have the task of trying to end the losing streak against the Americans, and it’s fitting the competition will be in his homeland.