The Five Most Important Stories Going into Augusta

We preview the biggest stories going into The Masters.

Trap Five LogoAs the first major of the year, The Masters is the year’s earliest test of the state of golf. A birdie-fest win at the tournament-formerly-known-as-the Bob Hope is one thing, but playing well at Augusta is another story entirely, and this year has been loaded full of weighty stories. Luke Donald began the year at the top spot in the world, but a resurgent Rory McIlroy quickly stole that away. Despite the young Ulsterman’s finishes of second, first, and third on the PGA Tour early on, Donald was able to take back the number one ranking with a victory at Innisbrook.

Equally impressive has been the play of numerous Americans, veterans and young-guns. Steve Stricker started off the year with a win at Kapalua, and he was followed by a crop of young players including Brandt Snedeker, Kyle Stanley, John Huh, and Hunter Mahan.

Phil Mickelson also picked up an early-season win at Pebble, and most recently Tiger Woods returned to the winner’s circle, triumphing at Bay Hill for the seventh time. He’ll have to put aside all of he talk about hank Haney’s tell-all is he wants to win his fifth green jacket.

Nine Holes With the Back Nine at Augusta National

We take a walk through one of the best back nines in golf.

ProfilesAugusta National has a solid front nine, but it’s the back nine where the course really shines. Every hole can easily lead to a bogey but each one is also birdie-able, as Charl Schwartzel and others showed us last year. Because of this, going into the back nine on Sunday everyone within shouting distance of the lead is still in the tournament.

Last year we saw Tiger destroy the front nine, then shoot a disappointing 36 on the back nine. Conversely, Charl was just two under on the front nine but he laid siege to the last four holes of the back nine, and pulled out the tournament.

A complete about-face from their earlier deadlines, Augusta National has opened up recently. No, they haven’t changed their membership policy, but Augusta National now offers the most comprehensive online streaming infrastructure in golf. Augusta has also added more early-round coverage, and the addition of the course to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game has given us unprecedented access to one of the most interesting courses in golf.

The 2012 Masters: Staff Predictions and Questions

The lead up to this years event is better than ever, check out who the staff likes and what they will be looking for at this years event.

Thrash TalkThe Masters truly starts the golf season. Sure there are plenty of events on the West Coast and the Florida swing, but that week in April with the beautifully manicured fairways at Augusta truly gets the season underway.

There has not been a Masters in the last few years that has the excitement of all the big players playing so well going into the event. Tiger winning, Rory winning, Luke Donald winning, Phil winning, and Mahan (now the top American in the OWGR) winning twice, all before the event. It is set up to be one of the best ever. With that I have collected the predictions and some additional questions from the staff here at The SandTrap, enjoy.

Five New Features from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13

Tiger Woods PGA Tour is back, and it’s packed full of new features.

Trap Five LogoFor the past few months, EA Sports has been slowly rolling out its list of new features for this year’s edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour. Starting with the fan voting that put Ricky Fowler on the cover of the U.S. version and Rory McIlroy on the international version, it has been a busy year for the developers.

After adapting the game to the Nintendo Wii and, more recently, the Playstation Move, this year EA is bringing the game to the Xbox 360 Kinect, which requires no controller at all and relies on cameras to track your body’s movement. Also new this year are Tiger Legacy, which lets you play as Tiger Woods as a kid, online country clubs, Total Swing Control, as well as a crop of new players and courses.

With EA Sports’ recent release of the newest edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour, here are five of the most important new features you can expect to see in Tiger Woods PGA Tour Tour 13.

Callaway Introduces RAZR Fit Driver

Callaway jumps into the adjustable club market with the introduction of the new RAZR Fit driver and fairway woods.

Bag DropIn many ways Callaway has always been a pioneer in the golf industry with regards to new technology. They’ve come up with such “out of the box ideas” as the HEX dimple pattern which is suppose to be more aerodynamic and were among the first to offer the ability to easily change shafts in a driver with the i-Mix line of clubs. Back in 2009, we saw TaylorMade introduce the original R9 driver and the adjustability of that club (mainly the ability to alter the face angle) really took off. Since that time other manufacturers have jumped into this new market but until now Callaway had stayed back. That all changed with the introduction of the RAZR Fit driver.

One of Callaway’s slogans with the new driver is “Change your driver, not your swing,” and the RAZR Fit gives you a couple of ways to do this. The first way is with the OptiFit Hosel, which allows the face angle to be altered. The second way is with the OptiFit Weights that can be swapped out to promote the desired ball flight of the player.

Volume Three Hundred Nine

Augusta is waiting. Sean Foley’s PGA Tour clients seem ready.

Hittin' the LinksHello golf fans and welcome to The Masters edition of Hittin’ the Links. Yep, its Masters week again! I think back to where I was this time last year, getting ready to visit Augusta National for the first time. It was a completely unforgettable experience, there is just no other place like it.

In this edition of HtL we begin with a look at some famous golf clubs, then take a stroll down memory lane, and investigate what that everyone’s favorite feminist nitwit is complaining about now. Also on tap, we check out who to watch this week at Augusta, take a look at some important shots, and do a wrap-up of this weeks winners. Read on!