Breaking Down the 2012 Ryder Cup

The Sand Trap previews the Ryder Cup.

Trap Five LogoGoing into the 2012 Ryder Cup, there isn’t a noticeable chasm between the two teams. The Euros have the hottest player in the world over the last two months in Rory McIlroy, but the American team has Tiger Woods and 2012 FedExCup champ Brandt Snedeker. The U.S. team has one more player in the OWGR top 10, as well as the highest average ranking, but the European team has three of the top four players. The American team has slightly more overall experience, but the Euros have a better overall record. And so on it goes.

The Americans are looking to bring the Cup back Stateside, while the Europeans hope to keep it. Let’s break it down.

TaylorMade RocketBallz Tour Driver and Tour Rescue Review

We’ve seen that the RocketBallz fairway woods are ridiculously long but how do the RocketBallz Tour Driver and Rescue compare?

TaylorMade RocketBallz Driver Tour Intro 1
When TaylorMade first announced that the name for their newest line replacing the Burner series was going to be RocketBallz, the social media universe exploded. There were snickers, jokes, humorous pictures posted, threats to TaylorMade to never buy another club again and predictions that this signaled the end of this dominant golf company that we know TaylorMade to be. All this gossiping really did was give TaylorMade a lot of free advertising and created an enormous buzz around the product. Yes the name may have sounded goofy at first but TaylorMade knows what they’re doing. TaylorMade made more money last year than every other golf equipment company in the world combined. To date, TaylorMade’s market share in metal woods is 50% and their fairway woods make up 75%. The RocketBallz fairway wood is one of the most successful launches in golf history and yes there is also a driver and hybrid that is part of the line.

Titleist Unveils the New 913 Drivers

Titleist’s soon-to-be-released 913 drivers offers the company’s fastest face, increased forgiveness, and five different stock shafts.

Bag DropTitleist, as it has done every other year for the last few years now, is updating their driver offering with the release of the 913 series of drivers. Like the 910 series, there will be two different models – the larger, more forgiving D2 and the smaller, more workable D3. Also coming back is the SureFit system which allows the golfer alter the loft and face angle of the club. While there are a lot of similarities between the 913s and the 910s, there are a lot of new features as well.

Should the PGA Tour Have Playoffs?

Why the 2012 PGA Tour playoff system is AWESOME!

Thrash TalkThe PGA Tour got the 2012 FedExCup Playoffs right. That statement from me is not easy to make, mostly because I have been quite critical of the playoff format. I like to see the best player win the money title, not someone who got hot at the Tour Championship as Bill Haas did last year. The best player last year was Luke Donald, and although he won the money title at the end of the Fall Series I felt if any player deserved the $10M bonus it was Luke and not Bill.

All that said, this year I see the magic that Tim Finchem was trying to create by getting the best players to play in the events at the end of the season. We have been treated to some fantastic golf, by all the big names. Consider this past weeks BMW Championship where the leaderboard displayed names like Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Vijay Singh. All the giants of the game, and each of them playing some of their best golf. The only word I can use to describe it is brilliant.

Volume Three Hundred Twenty Nine

It’s come down to this, The Tour Championship.

Hittin' the LinksThe big boys took some time off this week, but fear not golf addicts, there were still some stories from the world of golf.

In this PGA Tour-less volume of Hittin’ the links we begin with a preview of the Tour Championship, then investigate Tiger’s almost coach, and find out what Rory was doing on late night. Also, we look into Ben Crane’s Therapy Sessions, see the five best shots of 2012, and do a wrap-up of the events that did go on this week, read on!

TaylorMade Penta TP5 Golf Ball Review

TayorMade hits another home run with some minor tweaks to an already-great golf ball.

TaylorMade TP5 Balls One BallTaylorMade has never shied away from taking chances where technology is involved. The company that brought us three different ways to adjust a driver and a slot behind the face of a fairway wood to increase the CoR is back, and continues to up their golf ball game.

Already the first company to introduce a five-layer golf ball, TaylorMade has seen their golf ball line take off recently. The TP5 is the fourth premium golf ball TaylorMade has brought to market since their entrance in the mid-2000s, and they’re gaining traction on the PGA Tour as well as in pro shops worldwide. 25 million Pentas were put into play around the globe in 2011, and Darren Clarke used a PentaTP en route to his Open Championship victory.

TaylorMade’s golf ball market share doubled in 2011, continuing their inroads into a business dominated by the likes of Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway, and others, and this year they’re aiming to bring their (healthy) obsession with innovation back to the golf ball. Read on to see how they did.

TaylorMade ATV Wedge Review

We review TaylorMade’s radical attempt to consolidate their wedge offerings and improve your short game.

It’s a testament to TaylorMade’s insane devotion to innovation that just about every TM-related equipment review starts like this: “Not long after the release of their last technology-packed golf club, TaylorMade is back with another highly-touted line.” This time it’s wedges.

After success for a few years marketing the groove design in their wedges (Y-cutter grooves, Z-grooves), TaylorMade came out with the world’s first wedge with a replaceable sole, the xFT. It was a solid wedge on a number of levels, but not exactly on the Cleveland or Vokey echelon. This year they’ve gone away from the replaceable route, instead opting for a radical sole design.

Bounce is the name of the game when it comes to wedges. It’s invaluable in sand shots, and the most consistent short game shots are those that utilize bounce. But instead of offering copious options (like Vokey), or an extensive fitting system (like Edel), TaylorMade has gone for a one-size-fits-all approach.

Does the uniform system benefit the most golfers, or is TaylorMade leaving something on the table when it comes to individuality? Read on to find out.

PING Updates the Anser Lineup

PING finally gets into the adjustable driver market with the introduction of the PING Anser Driver as well as introducing new fairway woods, hybrids, and irons.

Bag DropFor a few years now, the big trend in the driver market has been the introduction of adjustable clubs. We first saw this with the TaylorMade R9 line and over the last few years the majority of companies have fallen in line and introduced some sort of adjustable driver. Up until this point, PING has stayed away from this market, but with the updated Anser line (which also includes fairway woods, hybrids, and irons) PING now has an adjustable driver.

The Rise of Rory McIlroy

Rory is number one with a bullet. How high can he go?

Thrash TalkI enjoyed watching Rory McIlroy win these past two weekends at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships. Rory appears like a very likable young man and a very gracious winner. He is young and I think he has only just begun to get as good as he will eventually be. He does not have the same impact on the game of golf as Tiger did at the same age.

Tiger hit the scene and the game has been changed forever. Tiger was incredibly athletic and had a workout plan that would make a NFL football player proud, at a time that most golfers were not in the gym much at all, if ever. Rory is fit, in fact much more fit in recent months than in his younger days, but almost all the golfers on the PGA Tour are fit in today’s game. Not all of them, but the vast majority, certainly most of those in the top ten of the world rankings.