Trying to sort out if the “hot hand theory” applies to golf.
“He’s on a hot streak.”
“Rory just can’t miss right now.”
“You want Webb Simpson on your fantasy team this week, he’s been playing great the last few months.”
The hot streak. Long defended by athletes, denounced by statisticians. It pops up in discussions about three-point shooting, batting titles, and blackjack, but I want to talk about golf.
I don’t really care about putting hot streaks, and it would have taken me a decade to comb though the data to chart individual rounds, but there was one thing I could check out: tournament finishes.
I wanted to see how a player’s finish in one tournament (“event A”) could be used to predict their finish in the next tournament (“event B”).
My hypothesis going in was, with some reservations, that there must be something to the hot-hand theory. We’ve all seen the kind of streaks Tiger and Rory have gone on where they seemingly can’t miss a putt, and we’ve all had our own streaks where nothing seems to go straight. I figured most pros would go through the same thing.
But the results told a largely different story.
Continue reading “How Does Today’s Finish Predict Tomorrow’s?”
TaylorMade mixes old and new with the AeroBurner and R15 lines of metalwoods.
TaylorMade got away from their core audience last year, and new CEO Ben Sharpe knows it.
The SLDR was released with less fanfare than they expected, and it took TM too long to realize that the “Loft Up” features of the club were more important than the moving weights. They tried to rescue that later in 2014 with the SLDR-S, but that line’s overlap with the underwhelming JetSpeed just gave TaylorMade a muddled lineup.
The familiar “R” and Burner lines were no where to be found, and the RocketBallz line with which TM had so much commercial success was similarly jettisoned. The entire lineup was blue and grey, and they never quite decided whether they wanted the club crowns to be white, black, or somewhere in between.
TaylorMade’s new lineup brings back some of the old standbys, while incorporating the technology that got lost last year.
Continue reading “TaylorMade Unveils New AeroBurner and R15 Lines of Woods”
Orlimar’s master craftsman is back with a new line of fairway woods.
I learned the game of golf on a pair of cut down clubs: a Mizuno pitching wedge and an Orlimar 3-wood, so both brands have always had a place in my heart.
Orlimar, a fairway metal giant back in the 1990s, has fallen off the map after head designer, and the driving force behind the company’s greatness, Jesse Ortiz left in 2003. Ortiz has long been one of the game’s most recognizable club designers, dating back to the days of permission woods. Though maybe not the best businessman, Ortiz had proven himself to be among the most innovative club designers in golf since joining Bobby Jones Golf a little less than a decade ago.
Ortiz and the higher-ups at Bobby Jones Golf have purposely limited the company’s scope to avoid stretching it thin, focusing on drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. Bobby Jones, with input from Dave Pelz, also formerly sold wedges with a firm, wear-resistant face backed by a polymer membrane, but those are no longer being made. A short-lived lineup of irons has met the same fate.
If you’re going to review a Jesse Ortiz club though, it’s got to be a fairway metal. Let’s get into it.
Continue reading “Bobby Jones Blackbird By Jesse Ortiz Fairway Woods Review”
We chat with Neil Sabebiel, blogger at Armchair Golf Blog, and author of The Longest Shot and Draw in the Dunes.
Neil Sagebiel is a golf blogger at Armchair Golf Blog and author whose first book The Longest Shot detailed Jack Fleck’s stunning comeback and subsequent 18-hole playoff with Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open, and whose new book, Draw in the Dunes, chronicles the 1969 Ryder Cup.
The ’69 Cup featured two highly combative sides. 17 of the 32 matches were decided on the 18th hole, and the last match of the day, which featured Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, proved to be the decider. Nicklaus, playing in his first Ryder Cup despite having already won seven major championships, conceded a missable putt to Jacklin on the final hole, an unexpected turn of sportsmanship that became known simply as “The Concession.” Jacklin tied the match, and the United Kingdom drew even with the States, though the defending champion Americans retained the Cup.
I sat down with Sagebiel over email to discuss golf history, a few the sport’s current events, and his own game.
Continue reading “Talking to Neil Sagebiel, Author of “Draw in the Dunes””
Top five or not, Patrick Reed is on fire.
Over the past year, few golfers have played as well as Patrick Reed. The cocky Texan won for the first time last August, and simply hasn’t stopped.
He’s currently on the bubble for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but his competitiveness makes him tough to leave off. Likewise, his cockiness makes him polarizing.
Let’s take a look at on of the Tour’s best golfers.
Continue reading “Nine Holes With Patrick Reed”
Chatting with the man behind FishFit, a comprehensive golf fitness app from Bubba Watson’s former conditioning coach.
First, thanks to all the TST readers and forum members who submitted questions over on the forum. Also, a big thanks to Andrew Fischer for the answers.
Fischer was Bubba Watson’s conditioning coach, and has a new smartphone app out called “FishFit,” which is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Continue reading “Talking to Andrew Fischer, Bubba Watson’s Former Fitness Coach and Founder of FishFit”
The age-old debate rages on.
Trying to parse out the respective greatness of golf’s two winningest major champions is probably the sport’s biggest unsolved mystery.
Jack’s supporters, largely those who lived through his career, tend to look at the one big marker that Nicklaus certainly beats Woods in: major championship wins, as currently defined. 18 remains a larger number than 14, after all. They also point out the Hall of Fame-level competition that Jack had to face throughout his career, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Tom Watson.
And Tiger’s supporters, generally younger, look to most other stats. Tiger leads Jack in PGA Tour wins, worldwide wins, Vardon Trophies, money titles, and many more. There’s also a very pervasive argument that Tiger’s competition, despite not having the dozen big names of Jack’s day, was far deeper, and presented a more of a weekly challenge where 100 different players were skilled enough to win rather than 20.
It’s an argument that often gets emotional and irrational, but if we want a real answer, we’re going to have to break it down.
Continue reading “Tiger vs. Jack”
A little bit of Tiger news, an update on the LPGA Tour’s American resurgence, and a quick look back at the PGA Tour so far.
We’re in that weird low point that happens in the middle of every golf season. Post-Masters, post-Players, pre-U.S. Open; we’ve got all the anticipation of the beginning of the season without any of the knowledge that the end of the year brings.
And because we’ve got another few weeks until what is shaping up to be a Tiger Woods-less U.S. Open, there’s no one overarching golf story on which to fall back.
Instead, we get pop-interest stories like Rory McIlroy’s breakup, a Stanford University golfer using a push cart during a tournament, and a few nuggets from Tiger, with a bit of reflection on the year as a whole for good measure.
Let’s dive in.
Continue reading “Five Pre-U.S. Open Golf Stories”
Callaway’s newest flagship line of irons is not quite Hogan-esque, but pretty darn close.
Just a few years ago, Callaway’s lineup of irons was bloated, confusing, and redundant. They had a few uninspired options for better players, and had clearly put all of their effort into the game improvement market.
Several years later, Callaway’s lineup has been completely transformed. Along with the holdover X Forged from a year ago, they’re introduced two new lines: X2 Hot, and Apex.
Callaway didn’t approach the Apex line lightly, and it shows. The label was originally made famous as the name of a line of Hogan clubs. After Callaway bought the Hogan brand in the early 2000s, both the “Hogan” and “Apex” names were retired, a development that many better players lamented, especially as Callaway recycled the Hogan “Edge” label into a set of gaudy game-improvement irons and despite Callaway’s recent sale of Hogan to Perry Ellis.
As Callaway’s most forgiving forged set of irons, the Apex irons need to strike a balance between appealing to both high- and low-handicappers, which is not easy to do. Let’s see how they made out.
Continue reading “Callaway Apex Irons Review”