2014 British Open Staff Preview

My alarm is set for early Thursday morning to watch the 2014 British Open, is yours? Read on to check out what the staff expects we’ll see for this year’s event.

Thrash TalkRoyal Liverpool is the site of the 2014 British Open. Last time we were there, Tiger navigated his way to a win only hitting his driver once. When it comes to the British Open, the weather conditions dictate how the course will play and the rumor is the course is not as dry and the rough is up, so Tiger will likely not be able to it the same way he did last time. Speaking of Tiger there are numerous question marks about how he will play this year considering it is only his second event back from his back surgery.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson come to Royal Liverpool following one of his worst starts ever. His only top ten was at Abu Dhabi early in the season, but with Phil being Phil we can never know what to expect. There are numerous exciting story lines surrounding the event so with that lets see what the staff expects for the event.

PING Introduces G30 Line

The new G30 line of clubs includes new drivers, woods, hybrids and irons.

Bag DropWhen one thinks of the golf manufacturers out there on the cutting edge of innovation, companies like TaylorMade and Callaway spring to mind. It seems that these companies always have some new technology that promises to add distance and increase forgiveness and some time later similar technologies are adopted by the rest of the golfing world. However, one of the original innovators in the golf world is PING, and they are doing it again with their new G30 line of drivers, woods, hybrids and irons. According to PING, they were able to achieve significant distance gains with the new clubs without sacrificing performance in any other key area such as forgiveness.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Five

Two majors, a minor, and Mo…

Hittin' the LinksIt’s a major week (again)! Though this past week had two majors, the Women’s British Open and the U.S. Senior Open, it’s the upcoming men’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool that will get the most attention. It should be interesting.

The game’s best are preparing to tackle a course that on paper looks akin to one from a Rick Reilly novel, but with better hygiene. Tiger won seemingly easily in 2006 by eschewing his driver (something he may try again). Is he fully recovered from back surgery and ready to resume his pursuit of Nicklaus’ major wins record? Will Phil defend his first Open Championship title? Or will the winner be Rose or Fowler or Spieth or McIlroy or Westwood or [insert your pick here]? Can’t wait to see it get started.

In the meantime, let’s hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Four

A duck, a mudder, and a little gratuitous Amanda Dufner.

Hittin' the LinksFor what should have been a down week in TV golf, the Independence Day weekend gave us some pretty compelling story lines. Major winners prevailed in the end. But a lot of people watching the Greenbrier Classic were undoubtedly rooting for the other guy.

This week is a double major week. The women of the LPGA are playing the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale in Lancashire, and the Champions Tour is in Oklahoma for the U.S. Senior Open Championship. In non-major category, the PGA Tour is in Illinois for the John Deere Classic, while the Euro Tour has the Scottish Open where Phil Mickelson is the defending champion. And the following week is the British Open Championship.

We love this time of year. Let’s hit the links.

Michelle Wie, Back From Golfing Exile

Michelle Wie entered the golf scene with talent to burn, then lost her way, and is now back to try and claim the women’s golfing crown.

Thrash TalkHer performance was not quite as masterful as Martin Kaymer’s but it was extremely skillful nonetheless. She was dominating throughout. Yes, Michelle Wie finally won her first of hopefully many majors, and did so at famed Pinehurst No. 2. It has not been what one might call an easy journey for someone many of us thought would have five or six majors in her trophy case by now, but it’s now been a successful one.

When Wie burst onto the scene what seems like fifteen years ago, she looked for all the world that she was going to dominate women’s golf. She had distance – according to many reports she could hit it farther than many of the men she was playing with. (As a side note, I think much of that was nonsense created by the press.) She could play.

After many years of trying, then turning pro way too soon, and a college career that was not spent on the college golf team, I for one thought she had lost her passion for the game and may fade away into golf oblivion. The early part of her career is the perfect outline for how to destroy a young golfer’s career. Her parents are to blame for this mismanagement.

Then, the early part of this year she has been the hottest golfer on the planet. A second-place finish at the season’s first major (to fellow phenom Lexi Thompson), then a win in front of her hometown fans in Hawaii, and now the Women’s U.S. Open trophy.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Three

The week in golf in 140 characters or less…

Hittin' the LinksTiger returns to golf and misses the cut by four. But the back feels good, he says.

Michelle Wie takes NYC and golf world by storm, twerks, and nearly doubles up in Arkansas.

Biggest international suspense… five-man playoff on EuroTour or World Cup?

Oh, and the Champions Tour held a major. Did you notice?

Let’s hit the links, Twitter style.

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver Review

Callaway brings back a very popular line of drivers, updates their looks and performance, and again is making a big impact in metal woods.

BB AlphaRebranding a popular line of golf clubs has got to be a very daunting task. If you are from my generation, you remember the first popular metal golf clubs to hit were the Big Bertha line of drivers from Callaway. The market share at the time was very big; they ruled the “oversized” driver market until TaylorMade got wise to shift to titanium.

In the last five years, Callaway got away from Big Bertha line and frankly has struggled to find their identity. The most recent woods from Callaway have rebranded the Big Bertha line with new logos in particular a cartoon version of Sir Isaac Newton and his famous apple. They have also modernized the graphics and lettering of the Big Bertha clubs. They also released two drivers: the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha. You can read the other Big Bertha review here, this review is for the Alpha driver.

For the review I was given a nine degree driver along with a Stiff Fubuki Shaft. Let’s dive in to see how this club performs.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Two

Wie wins, Tiger’s coming back, and Rory was missing something important.

Hittin' the LinksIt’s difficult to contemplate. This weekend, Michelle Wie was playing in her 11th U.S. Women’s Open. Born Oct. 11, 1989, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at the age of 10 (at the time she was the youngest person to qualify for a USGA amateur championship). She won it in 2003. She was the youngest to make the cut at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship that same year. In 2006, Wie was the first female medalist at a men’s U.S. Open local qualifier (she failed to advance from the final stage qualifier).

Soon after Wie turned pro, a week before her 16th birthday, the trouble started. Her level of play deteriorated. She found herself the focus of several controversies, from questionable withdrawals and suspicious injuries to accusations that her parents were among the worst of sports parents. (Some of these accusations were probably true.) She finally won an LPGA event in 2009, but in most events during this time she was a side note. Even when she got into contention, she failed to close.

But 2014 appears to the year of a major Wiesy resurgence. She’s a few years removed from controversy and her play is improving at a rapidd pace. Her new putting style, odd as it is, has taken her from average at best to one of the best putters on the LPGA. She’s always been long, but now she’s playing a smarter game with more control. She already won at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April this year, and now… well, let’s hit the links.

TaylorMade Expands SLDR Line Again

The SLDR line has been arguably the most popular that TaylorMade has ever produced, and now they are adding to it with some new woods and the first SLDR irons.

Bag DropA little less than a year ago, TaylorMade Golf introduced a set of woods that started somewhat of a mini revolution in the golf industry. The SLDR line of clubs strayed from the norm of a center of gravity that was low and back to one that was low and forward, and in doing so allowed golfers to hit the ball with a lot less spin. This, in combination with having golfers “loft up” has given many that extra distance that they were searching for, and thus, the SLDR driver has become one of the most popular available.

Some companies would be more than happy to sit back for a while, but that isn’t TaylorMade. Since the SLDRs introduction last August, the company has expanded the line with a smaller 430cc version, a white crowned version, a mini version, and now a version without the adjustable hosel, the SLDR S. In addition to the new woods, the company has also released the first set of SLDR irons.