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Three Questions for 2009

Dec. 4, 2008     By     Comments (1)

Thrash TalkAdmittedly, the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii is still over a month away. Premier players are probably testing equipment for the upcoming year, honing their swings, and generally relaxing. The steady flow of information from the golf media has turned into a veritable trickle in these off months. Following the Thanksgiving fattening, the madness of Black Friday (perhaps somewhat subdued this year), and in the grips of the Christmas spirit, which becomes incarnate at this time each year, I'll do my best to speculate regarding some possibilities for the 2009 season.

Something’s Missing, For Better or For Worse

Nov. 13, 2008     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkRecently, in his monthly contribution to Golf Magazine, David Feherty made reference to an interesting dynamic which he has seen at work in the world of golf this year.

"In Tiger's absence," the iconic (and perhaps iconoclastic) Irishman writes, "I've noticed that more and more people have started referring to him as you-know-who, as if he is golf's equivalent of Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels." For those of you unfamiliar with the Dark Lord, Feherty's description is more compelling than any I could hope to produce: "Voldemort is the all-powerful dark wizard whose black magic is so terrifying that saying his name out loud can induce involuntary brown magic in ones Fruit-of-the-Brooms."

Callaway and Titleist’s Legal Battle, Round 38

Nov. 12, 2008     By     Comments (11)

Recently Callaway celebrated a minor victory in their long-running legal battle with Titleist over patents related to the manufacturing process used to create Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. A few weeks back, Titleist celebrated their own small victory when the U.S. Patent Office ruled the four applicable patents invalid.

Despite the now invalid patents, a Delaware judge recently granted Callaway a permanent injunction against Titleist for the sale and distribution of Pro V1 golf balls manufactured under the patents in dispute in the U.S.

However, Titleist quickly responded to point out that since September, they'd shifted their manufacturing process to a new one clear of these patents, and that production, distribution, and sale of Pro V1 and Pro V1x will not be hindered. This shift in manufacturing has been planned for quite some time and is not the result of the lawsuit. Please see paragraph two of Titleist's official response (below) for more on that. If you were wondering whether there would be new Pro V1s in 2009, you'll also want to read the response.

Titleist Boxes

For those deeply interested - or for those who are as confused as I am about how what are now invalid patents can be used to form an injunction - I recommend you check out David Dawsey's in the coming weeks.

Golf Talk: 909 Driver Episode

Oct. 29, 2008     By     Comments (1)

Golf Talk PodcastThis week, a special edition of the Golf Talk Podcast as we talk with Steve Pelisek, General Manager, Titleist Golf Clubs and Stephanie Bezilla, Titleist Metalwoods Development Manager about the new 909 Drivers - the DComp, D2, and D3 - about to hit store shelves. Check out this exciting episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download the 909 Driver Episode 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.

The Five Best Words in Golf

Oct. 24, 2008     By     Comments (4)

Trap Five LogoFew sports, with the possible exception of cricket ("That was a wicked googly."), have as colorful or specialized language as golf.

We have words that describe certain kinds of holes, like "redan," which has become a general term to indicate a hole, usually a par three, with a right-to-left diagonal green that slopes away from the line of play and from right to left. The name comes from the original Redan at North Berwick Golf Links in Scotland, which in turn was dubbed with the French term for a V-shaped fortification that faces the expected angle of attack.

We have "pars," "birdies," "eagles," and "albatrosses," which are all good things. We have "chili-dips," "chunks," and "claggy" lies, which are all bad things. A claggy, by the way, is a wet, muddy lie that borders on casual water.

We have words that we hardly ever use any more. When you commit a "baff" you hit behind the ball and merely graze the ball, which hardly ever happens on today's softer, more manicured courses. "Niblick" is an obsolete term for a nine-iron. "Pawky" is an old Scottish term used to describe cunning or tricky play.

And then there are all those four-letter terms that turn up so much during a round of golf. Frankly, they are a bit too common to be considered as the best words in golf, though they certainly have a place from time to time when the game gets extra frustrating.

My criteria for the best golf word is the aptness of its sound to its meaning, its originality to golf, and my own totally subjective bonus point system.

2008 Ryder Cup Singles Matches Live Blog

Sep. 21, 2008     By     Comments (3)

Ryder CupThe 37th Ryder Cup has come down to the final day - something you couldn't say the previous two years. Of course, the last time the U.S. took a 9-7 lead into the final-day singles matches, they lost - in 1995 at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY.

Like 1995, the U.S. team is playing without Tiger, but the comparisons will likely stop there. This Ryder Cup, unlike others in recent years, has seen a sort of role reversal. Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood have records of 0-1-2 and sat out a match for the first time in over a decade. Rookies on the U.S. squad have stepped up, like Boo Weekley and Hunter Mahan. In short, the U.S. team has been making the clutch shots and holing the key putts, while such instances for the Europeans have been much fewer and farther between.

It's all shaping up to be an exciting final day at the 37th Ryder Cup. Click through to read along.

2008 Ryder Cup Predictions

Sep. 18, 2008     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkRyder Cup week is finally here! We have heard all the talk and hype, and now it's time for Europe and the United States to settle things on the golf course.

Europe has completely dominated the event over the past decade or so, and they are the favorites coming into the 2008 version. The United States, on the other hand, is playing on home soil (Valhalla) and will have the crowds in their favor.

Will the Europeans continue their recent domination, or will the United States bring the Cup back to America? Also, which golfers will get the most points for their respective teams, and which golfers will disappoint the most? The Sand Trap staff members have given their predictions, and you can keep reading to find out what we all think about this year's event. If you have anything to add, please comment below or discuss them in the forum.

Sand Trap Rules Quiz Number One

Sep. 15, 2008     By     Comments (16)

USGA LogoHittin' the Links is on hiatus this week, just like the PGA Tour. Instead we are going to delve into the complicated world of rules.

At the golf course, many golfers think it is fine to play without rules. It is evident among the pages of our forum just how misunderstood or unknown the USGA Rules of Golf really are (or the R&A's, if you're outside the USGA's jurisdiction). Many "What's the ruling?" or "Did I do this correctly?" threads pop up asking for advice. As golfers we enjoy helping others play by the rules. So we here at The Sand Trap thought, well, why don't we have a column to help people learn about and understand the rules.

Let me introduce the Sand Trap Rules Quiz Number One.

Cheap Course Tricks

Aug. 29, 2008     By     Comments (7)

Trap Five LogoHave you ever been enjoying a round on a new course when suddenly the architect throws a twist at you that just seems out of character? When I'm playing a course laid out by a farmer (there are quite a few of these in central Ohio, by the way), I expect some quirks and tricks, but when a "name" architect does it to me, I can't help but feel a little betrayed.

There are so many challenges designers can build into any course - chutes of trees that threaten drives from both sides, watery graves for errant shots, curled-lip bunkers that throw shots back like Hawaiian waves spit out surfers, murderous contours on firm greens - I don't understand why architects feel the need to use cheap tricks.

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