Norman Bites Finchem, PGA Tour over Technology and Overseas Play

Greg Norman, successful businessman and moderately good golfer, feels the PGA Tour and Tim Finchem should limit ball technology and help competing worldwide tours.

Greg NormanAustralian born-and-bred Greg Norman has never been one to keep quiet when he believes in something. It’s one of the things we admire about the ol’ two-time (cough, ahem) major winner. Recent topics have caused the Shark to go into a small feeding frenzy. His victim? Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour, and “technology.”

First, Greg Norman tackles the issue of a “tour ball,” an idea that’s been batted around for the past decade or so. Greg, who recently hit a ball 356 yards, asks that restrictions be placed on pros but not amateurs. “Put the restrictions on us. We are the best players… Don’t let us take advantage of technology like we have.” This is the same Norman, recall, that recently switched to the MacTec NVG driver, saying during an interview during the PGA Merchandise Show that he chose MacGregor because “they have great R&D and that results in amazing technologies, like the MacTec NVG.”

Bit your own tail a bit there, didn’t ya Greg?

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Preview

The Clambake starts Thursday, and a field packed with notable pros and hilarious celebrities guarantees great entertainment.

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmIt’s February, and that means once again the PGA Tour will make a stop in Monterrey, California for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. First held in 1937 by Bing Crosby and dubbed the “Clambake,” the event has become infamous for its huge draw of top pros and A-list celebrities. The field of amateur-pro teams will compete on three different courses for the first three days: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Poppy Hills. After Saturday’s round, the low 60 pros and low 25 amateur/pro teams will compete for the title at Pebble Beach. Vijay Singh, last years champion, will be defending his title. However, the field is loaded with other big names such as FBR Open winner Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, and Fred Couples.

Smooth Out Saves from Deep Rough

A ball buried in thick Bermuda is a very difficult shot, here’s how to make it easier.

deep_rough.jpgA ball sitting way down in deep rough may be one of the most disheartening sights in all of golf. This is a tricky shot because it is one of the few times in golf where power is really required. The most important thing to do is play smart. If the green is 200 yards away and you’re not confident hitting your 4-iron, it’s time to lay up. Also, remember that the ball will come out hot due to the low trajectory and lack of spin, so plan for some extra roll.

Now, set up with the ball slightly back in your stance. Take a ¾ back swing, and shift your weight hard to your left leg. A strong weight shift helps gain club head speed, ensures your hands will be ahead of the ball on impact, and helps achieve a low, boring trajectory. Thick rough will grab at the clubs hozel and try to close the face. So, to prevent a snap hook, be sure to hold onto the finish, no wrist movement through impact (like a chip). This will keep the clubface open as long as possible. With these steps in mind, getting out of thick rough will be a walk in the park!

Photo Credit: © Sign On San Diego.

Big Break III Begins Tonight

The Big Break III is here! Hot chicks and sticks – what more could you want? How about stiff competition and catfights? We shall see!

This is just a quick reminder: The Big Break III premieres tonight on The Golf Channel. Hosted by Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks, and with women instead of men, this season of The Big Break looks to be an interesting departure from the Lesley Swanson/Rick Smith/men mold of the first two seasons.

Check our previous article on The Big Break III, which takes place at Williamsburg, Virginia’s Kingsmill Resort.


CaddyPatches – suede leather impact markers – cost less and offer less hassle than impact tape. Why haven’t you switched?

caddypatch.jpgHey there. Got a second? I’d like to ask you a quick question: How do you tell where your club hit the ball on a mis-hit?

If you’re anything like I was a little over a year ago, your answer is probably some variation of “Look for the sky mark.” But, as you play and improve, you’ll eventually have a few lessons and the pro will pull out those little pieces of paper.

You put them on your club, you hit a few shots to see where you’re hitting the ball on your clubface, and then you throw them away. The little papers work, but who wants to mess with peeling stickers every two or three shots? Besides, they sure are expensive, aren’t they?

Enter the CaddyPatch.

Where the Site is Going

Tell us what you’d like to see from The Sand Trap.

The Sand Trap is now a few months old. The forum is nearing two months old. We’ve redesigned the site once already. Where are we going?

The answer is simple: nowhere and everywhere at once! In the coming weeks and months, we plan to publish more:

  • Reviews
  • Interviews
  • “Swing Thoughts” (opinion pieces)
  • More of the other stuff too!

We’ve got a great staff right now, and The Sand Trap is growing. We’re looking forward to bringing you tales from the tours and equipment news and views. We’re looking for a sponsor so we can advertise a wee bit (potential sponsors are welcome to contact us).

We’re also interested in what you have to say. What do you want to see from The Sand Trap? What can we do to make the site more interesting for you? Let us know – drop us a line and share your thoughts.

We don’t bite. But those Y-Cutters sure do

Phillin’ Good: Mickelson Wins the Phoenix

The Phoenix son Phil Mickelson was a safe bet this Sunday as he wins the Phoenix, errr, FBR Open by five shots, the largest margin of his career.

Phil Mickelson FbrPhil Mickelson, who has had (and by most accounts continues to have) gambling problems, would have been able to safely bet on himself today as he walked away with the Phoenix FBR Open. His final-round 68 left him five shots clear of second place.

Youngster Kevin Na, the youngest player on the PGA Tour at 21, shot a 69 to finish in a tie for second with Scott McCarron at -12. David Toms, Steve Flesch, and Tim Herron – none of which could mount a charge at all – finished at -11, six strokes back.

Phils Like Home

Kevin Na faltered while Phil Mickelson surged on the final four holes of the third round of the Phoenix, errr, FBR Open.

Phil MickelsonIt wasn’t a 60, but it was good enough to extend his lead to 4 shots over youngster Kevin Na heading into the final round of the Phoenix FBR Open. The likes of K.J. Choi, Kenny Perry, and Steve Flesch remain within five, but this is now Phil’s tournament to win or lose.

Going into the 15th, Na and Mickelson were knotted at -12. From 238 on the par 5 hole and a bit unsure of the wind direction, Na yanked his approach just a bit left, ran through the bunker, and trickled into the water. He wedged his penalty drop to four feet and missed the par putt, while Mickelson played safely after a poor drive and parred. On 16, Na three-putted to Phil’s good save from the deep, deep bunker. On the short par-4 17th, Phil birdied and Na made an ordinary par, a situation that repeated itself on 18.

Things I Could Do Without: The Presidents Cup

It’s time to look at an event that should be wiped off the schedule: The Presidents Cup. Why? Because it is pointless at best, anti-American at worse and, most crucially, it drags down the excitement and intensity of the Ryder Cup Matches.

Presidents CupNow that the 2005 golf season is finally gathering steam (I’m pretty sure the LPGA Tour starts up sometime in the next couple months, right?), it’s time to look at an event that should be wiped off the schedule: The Presidents Cup. Why? Because it is pointless at best, anti-American at worse and, most crucially, it drags down the excitement and intensity of the Ryder Cup Matches. Let me explain.

Quick history lesson, which you probably don’t need. The Presidents Cup was born in the Revenue Creation Laboratory located deep beneath PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach. It is an artificial construct created after the Ryder Cup became a surprise cash cow for the PGAs of America and Europe. The Tour was on the outside looking in, and it saw an opening. “Heck, they only play the Ryder Cup every other year. Let’s cram another international team event into the off-years and sell a lot of corporate sponsorships!”