The Best Moments Of The 2014 British Open!

July 21st, 2014

Rory's Selfie With the Claret Jug
Congrats to Rory McIlroy for winning the 2014 Open Championship! We didn’t know if he could do it, but boy were we wrong! This past weekend, McIlroy stayed comfortably in the lead; Rickie Fowler only caught up with him once. We here at the Cave are happy to see the return of the exciting golfer who won the U.S. Open in 2011 and the PGA a year later. He’s now just one leg away from completely the grand slam. He’s now part of a select club made only of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and himself – the only three golfers to win three legs of a career grand slam before the age of 26. It’s now a matter of “when” not “if” McIlroy wins the Masters.

Also congratulations to Rory’s dad, Gerry McIlroy. There are lots of parents with confidence in their children, but few can back it up like Rory’s father. In 2004, Gerry and three of Gerry’s friends £400 ($683) with 500-1 odds that Rory would win the British Open before the age of 26. Now the 25 year old golfer has won those four friends $342,000! That’s a heck of a payday!

Rickie Fowler

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the great playing by the two runner ups – Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler tied for second place. Rickie Fowler went 68-67 on the weekend which is just incredible. He’s now finished in the top five of this year’s three majors so far. We (and a lot of blog-o-sphere) feel that he’s going to be finally winning a major sooner than later. Garcia surged up the leaderboard in the final round but couldn’t catch up to McIlroy thanks to a mistake in the sand on the 15th hole. However, this is the best performance from Garcia we’ve seen in a while and going by the hug he gave the winner, Sergio is quite pleased as well.

Watch Sergio Garcia’s hole-out on No. 2!

Our favorite moment of the weekend? When Rory got a heckler booted from the Open. McIlroy said that the heckler had been following and giving him grief all day. He put up with the abuse for 15 holes, but on the 16th he had enough. During McIlroy’s backswing, the heckler loudly coughed but Rory finished his swing, turned around, and identified the man, who was then escorted off the course. Check it out below!

The 2014 British Open Primer

July 17th, 2014

The Open Championship

The British Open is officially on! The only time of year we’ll willing get up at 4 a.m. to watch television(this Caveman doesn’t remember that 4 a.m. exists the rest of the year). Let’s turn on the coffee Rock Heads and take a look at what’s ahead for us this weekend!

What: The Open ChampionshipThe Open Logo
When: Thursday Jul 17 – Sunday July 20
Where: The Hoylake Course at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Purse: $9,200,000
Winning Share: $1,670,000
FedExCup Winner’s Points: 600

Par: 72
Yardage: 7312
Course Designer: Robert Chambers,George Morris, and Harry Colt
Last Year’s Champion: Phil Mickelson

Website: http://www.theopen.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/The_Open
Watch It Online: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index
Live Leaderboard: http://scores.theopen.com/Leaderboard.aspx

TV Schedule (Initial Airings/All Times EST)
Thursday: ESPN  4 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday: ESPN  4 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday: ESPN  7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sunday: ESPN  6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Radio Schedule (PGA Tour Network on Sirius-XM Ch. 208/ESPN Radio on Sirius-XM Ch. 93)
Thursday & Friday 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET
Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET
Sunday 8 a.m. to conclusion (est 1:30 p.m. ET)

Great Links
The Histories and Traditions of the Open Championship
TheOpen.com’s Interactive Course Guide
Tee Times
Scratch Course Breakdown: Hole By Hole

Scratch’s Thoughts:

This season has been FULL of surprises so honestly it’s anyone’s guess who will win come Sunday. Personally, Scratch here would love to see another rookie take their first tournament; there’s been quite a few so far this year! A few things to watch:

  • Tiger Woods – This is the first major for Tiger this year. If he doesn’t win(he hasn’t won a major in six years), he’ll fall behind the pace set by Jack Nicklaus, who got his 15th title (on the way to 18) at the Open at the age of 38. Scratch’s assessment? Odds are it won’t happen. He’s only played two competitive rounds in the last four months. That’s not a lot of practice.
  • Phil Mickleson – We all love Lefty here at the Cave, but he hasn’t shown anything this season that makes us believe he’ll be the one with the Claret Jug on Sunday. He did win last year’s Open, but he was playing better then.
  • Rory McIlroy – For a player once deemed golf’s next star, McIlroy hasn’t done anything impressive in a while. I’m not saying he doens’t have the ability to win, but in order to do so, he’ll need to get over the second-round problems he’s been having.
  • Jordan Spieth – This is the guy who should be golf’s next star. Despite being only 20 years old, he has the skills, determination, and the focus to win his first major.
  • Henrik Stenson – We all talk about Phil’s win last year, but let’s remember who came in second. The unassuming Swede is currently No. 2 in the world and love links golf in Europe. Stenson has finished tied for third or better in three of his last five starts here and finished in the top five in his last three tournaments, including the U.S. Open! That’s some pretty good stats.

 

Who is your pick to win the British Open, Rock Heads? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Check Out The Course For This Year’s Open Championship!

July 14th, 2014

This Thursday marks the start of the 2014 British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. The course, often referred to as Hoylake, is already well known to golf fans as the venue for Tiger Wood’s emotional 2006 win two months after the death of his father. This year, we’ll see if Phil Mickleson can keep the Claret Jug or if a new champion will be crowned. To get you Rock Heads pumped, here’s a breakdown and animated flyover of the course we’ll all be watching this weekend!

Hoylake Course

According to TheOpen.com, “Just as at the 2006 Open, the 2014 Open will start on the member’s 17th hole ‘Royal’ and finish on the 16th hole ‘Dun.’ The par-4 first hole has been reshaped and rebunkered and the green has tricky run-off areas on either side. R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson has called it  ‘the hardest opening hole on the Open rota.’ ”

No. 1 – Royal | 458 yards | Par-4

This is a testing hole to start the round and one on which most competitors will be happy to secure a par. The tee shot has to be threaded between bunkers and the approach hit to a heavily contoured green protected by a group of new bunkers. The hole is named after the Royal Hotel which housed Royal Liverpool’s first clubhouse back in 1869.

No. 2 – Stand | 454 yards | Par-4

A new Championship tee has been built for this year’s Open which adds some 18 yards to the length of the hole. Four old fairway bunkers have been removed from the landing area but the hole still requires an accurate tee shot and then a precise approach to another heavily-guarded green.

No. 3 – Course | 426 yards | Par-4

This is the opening hole when the course is not being used for The Open and it is flanked by out-of-bounds all the way down its right-hand side. Competitors can fly the corner of the 90-degree dog-leg off the tee but might well then run out of fairway. It is safer to hit iron from the tee and then flight the second over the edge of the practice ground to a green positioned perilously close to the out-of- bounds. The swale to the left-hand side of the green has been deepened in time for this year’s Championship.

No. 4 – Road | 372 yards | Par-4

The 4th is the shortest par-4 at Hoylake but requires an accurate tee shot down the left-hand side of a narrow fairway to open up the second shot to a green built on the edge of the property. There is an out-of-bounds fence both to the back and left of the green but it should not be a factor for competitors with a wedge or 9-iron in their hands.  The green itself slopes from front to back but it is a birdie opportunity in all but the most difficult weather conditions.

No. 5 – Long | 528 yards | Par-5

The long 5th is a great risk and reward hole. The more aggressive players will hit a tee shot to the corner of the dog-leg and then go for the green in two. This hole yielded 23 eagles and 205 birdies during the 2006 Open but a player can still run up a big number if he hits his tee shot into a new bunker built 310yards out on the right of the fairway or misjudges his approach to a heavily contoured green protected by a new bunker on the right-hand side.

No. 6 – New | 201 yards | Par-3

The 6th is the first of what is a stunning set of short holes at Hoylake.  It requires an accurate tee shot to a long and narrow green which slopes from back to front and is guarded by bunkers on both sides. The bunkers to the left of the green are deep and should be avoided at all costs wh

No. 7 – Telegraph | 480 yards | Par-4

A new tee means this hole will play some 27 yards longer than the last time The Open was played at Hoylake in 2006. An accurate tee shot is the key on a hole on which the landing area is protected by bunkers and deep rough on both sides. A tee shot skirting the bunkers down the right leaves the best shot to a green which is slightly hidden from view. It is another of those holes where par is normally a good score.

No. 8 – Briars | 431 yards | Par-4

The 8th hole requires a blind tee shot over bushes to a fairway protected by gorse on the left and a bunker down the right. Miss the trouble and you are left with a straightforward second into a large and accommodating green protected by four bunkers.  The green itself slopes upwards at the front but flattens out towards the rear.

No. 9 – Dowie | 197 yards | Par-3

The short 9th is another terrific hole to look at but requires an accurate tee shot to a well-protected green. The gully down the left is to be avoided because it leaves a slippery pitch or putt over the top and down to the flag. The right-hand bunker has been reduced in size but has been designed to gather tee shots that leak down that side.

No. 10 – Far | 532 yards | Par-5

The par-5 10th was the second easiest hole during the 2006 Open Championship and eight years later will remain a birdie opportunity if similar conditions prevail. Most of the competitors will be able to hit the green in two but there is a very deep bunker cut into the right of the putting surface and a deep swale on the left making it difficult to get up-and-down from either side. The hole is called Far because it is built on the furthest point away from the clubhouse.

No. 11 – Punch Bowl | 391 yards | Par-4

The relatively short par-4 11th starts a memorable stretch of holes along the Dee Estuary. It gets its name because the green sits in a punch bowl surrounded by dunes. The best approach is from the left-land side of the fairway but a tee shot hit too far down that side will end up in brambles or deep rough. The bunker to the rear the green has been removed ahead of this year’s Championship but the front bunkers have been relocated so they eat more into the putting surface. Tiger Woods carded three birdies and a par here during his march to victory in 2006 .

No. 12 – Dee | 447 yards | Par-4

This was the most challenging hole on the course during the 2006 Open Championship costing no less than 138 bogeys and 15 double bogeys. The bunkers set into the right-hand side of the landing area catch a lot of errant tee shots and the green is raised and protected by a large swale on the left-hand side.  The putting surface itself slopes markedly from back to front.

No. 13 – Alps | 194 yards | Par-3

Australia’s John Senden claimed a hole-on-one on this fine short hole during the third round of the 2006 Championship but most competitors will settle for hitting the centre of its narrow green and two-putting for a par. The back left pin position is particularly challenging and any tee shot that comes up short will leave a difficult up-and-down. A new swale now separates the back of the green and the dune beyond.

No. 14 – Hilbre | 454 yards | Par-4

Tiger Woods hit a 2-iron from this tee during the second round of the 2006 Championship and then a 4-iron which flew about 190 yards, bounced a couple of times and dropped into the hole. He was the exception because the 14th proved to be the second hardest hole during the Championship. It is a very tough driving hole. A new fairway bunker has been added to the cluster of three down the right while the approach has to be hit over the side of a hill to a narrow green which sits at a slight angle to the fairway.

No. 15 – Rushes | 161 yards | Par-3

The tee on the last of Hoylake’s short holes is elevated and set into the sand dunes with great views over the Dee Estuary while the green is protected by three bunkers on the left and two on the right. Hit the green and it’s a good birdie chance but you will struggle for par if you miss the target. South Africa’s Richard Sterne secured a hole-in-one here during the second round of the 2006 Open Championship.

No. 16 – Field | 577 yards | Par-5

The par-5 16th is the longest hole at Hoylake but was also the easiest during the 2006 Open Championship when it yielded a total of 27 eagles and 252 birdies. The tee shot needs to be threaded between bunkers down the left and thick rough on the right  while the approach  has to avoid three greenside bunkers as well as a grass hollow on the front right of the green known as Farrar’s Folly in memory of one of Hoylake’s former club Secretaries.

No. 17 – Lake | 458 yards | Par-4

The 17th is another of the most challenging two-shotters at Hoylake. It is invariably played into the wind and was the fourthhardest hole on the course during the 2006 Open Championship. The fairway is very well protected by bunkers while the approach requires a long iron into a long and undulating green.

No. 18 – Dun | 551 yards | Par-5

This is one of those exciting closing holes that can often produce a two shot swing during the climax of a Championship. It is a left-to-right dog-leg. The big hitters can reach the green in two but out-of-bounds lurks all the way down the right-hand side of the fairway and thick rough guards the left. There are now three small bunkers to the left of the green and others eating into the right of the putting surface. A new swale has also been created at the back left of the green in time for this year’s Championship.

 

 

How To Catch A Cheat On The Course!

July 10th, 2014

Ever had an opponent who always somehow manages to magically find the fairway even though you’re sure if hit the rough? Now, I’m not saying that there are a lot of frauds out there, but we’ve all heard stories of the worst foursome ever at the clubhouse bar. Since many of you will be out on the green this summer, here’s a few things to look out for just in case you doubt another player’s game:
Moving the coin

Watch how the cheat marks the position of the ball on the green.

Invariably they will use a big coin, like a 50p or inch-diameter foreign currency, carefully sliding the coin as far as possible under the ball. When replaced, the distance between ball and coin will be at least an inch nearer the hole or slightly to the side to avoid a spike mark or blemish on the green.

Occasionally they will surreptitiously toss another coin a few inches, or even feet, nearer the hole (depending on the length of putt they face) and ignore the original marker to give themselves a closer putt.

Watch, too when a marker in an opponent’s putting line goes down nearer the hole when measured a putter head’s length – the angle changes when replaced and the cheat steals an inch or two.

Taking a free drop

Always remember the immortal words of R&A Rules chief David Rickman: “a drop must be taken at the nearest point of relief, not the nicest point of relief.”

Staked trees allow a free drop within one club length of the ‘nearest’ point of relief from the obstruction but invariably, the cheat wants full advantage from the situation.

For example a drive off the tee is hooked into a plantation of staked young trees on the left of the fairway and finishes within inches of the right-hand side of a staked sappling. The cheat would automatically deem the clear, fairway side to be the dropping area on the right of the tree. However, chances are that left of the tree is the nearest point from which a full swing and unimpared stance can be taken – then one club length from there, no nearer the hole.

Watch too, that the ball is dropped from shoulder height – not knee level to affect a better lie.

Improving your lie

Look out for the casual nudge of the ball with the toe cap in the rough – known in the trade as the ‘leather wedge’. Another trick is to casually press down the grass behind the ball with sole of the club or the foot, for a cleaner impact.

Point of entry

A ball played into a water hazard is a one stroke penalty but the next shot must be played keeping the point of entry between the hole and the point from which the next shot is to be played.

The cheat will tend to steal a few yards to the right or left to allow play over the narrowest stretch of water possible – if at all!

Tapping down spike marks

Only pitch marks and old holes can be repaired or loose impediments removed on a green. The cheat will nonchalantly declare spike marks on the line of a putt fair game and if challenged will look incredulous but never guilty.

Changing a score

Cheats rarely have good memories – especially when it comes to scoring. They will claim a four when taking five or six shots or dismiss an air shot as a practice swing.

Suspects should be watched carefully when you know they have miscounted. If they persist, simply refuse to sign their card.

 

Check out this video from About.com for info on how to spot a cheat!

Have you had to deal with cheaters, or maybe you’ve “stretched the rules” and want to come clean about your own cheats? Heck, maybe you want to brag about your fail-safe cheatin’ techniques! I’m all ears & want to hear ‘em in the comments below….

~Scratch

Stop Slicing Now!

July 7th, 2014
Difference Between Hook & Slice

Image from http://www.tydaniels.com/

Do you suffer from nasty Slices? Are you ready go get rid of them and start hitting down the middle just about every time? Getting those drives squared away will greatly improve your score. Unfortunately there isn’t a pill you can take to ease yourself of these aches and pains, but fortunately enough, Tour Golf Blog came up with some great tips to help you aim straighter:

1. Get your club head square: No matter what else you’re doing, one thing is a fact, if you’re slicing, the club head is not square at impact, and it’s causing you to slice the ball. Practice taking 1/2 and 3/4 swings with your driver, concentrating on watching the club head hit the ball with a square face.

2. Get the club on the right path: There are many swing faults that can cause a nasty slice, but the most common reason is an outside to inside swing path. This just means that you’re not bringing the club down to the ball on a path where the club head can naturally square itself. You need to get the club coming from the inside, and it will almost always be a more solid, square contact at impact. To promote this inside swing path, concentrate on keeping your right elbow at your side when you start your down swing. Letting that elbow get away from your side will let the club wander out to that outside path you’re trying to avoid. Try setting a plastic water bottle on the outside of the ball, parallel with your feet. Place it a few inches away from the ball, so a club can contact the ball. This little guide will instantly tell you if you’re coming over the top and hitting the ball on an outside to inside path, because the bottle will go flying. Do this drill until you naturally stop hitting the bottle.

3. You don’t have to kill it: Yeah, we all want to bomb 317 yard drives, but just putting your ball in the fairway should be the main goal, especially if you have a slicing problem. Slow your tempo down and make yourself do a 1-2 count. Count (1) on the way back, and (2) as you start your downswing. All you’re trying to do here is get yourself a rhythm that will stop you from rushing your back and down swing. Trust me…you’ll hit the ball even further with less effort, and you’ll be in the fairway.

4. Get a grip: It doesn’t matter if you use interlocking, overlapping, or 10 finger baseball grip, if you’re grip pressure is too weak or too strong, you’ll have a hard time getting the club face square at impact. I like to use a grip scale of 1-10 and always try to make sure my grip is about a 5-6 on that scale..10 being a strangle hold death grip. Good grip pressure will allow your wrists to properly turn over as you come through the ball, allowing the club face to naturally square, and hit the ball straight. If you’re grip is too weak, the club face will be open and you’ll slice, too strong and you’ll have a tendency to pull hook. Try holding the club more in your fingers than palms and treat it gently.

5. Close your stance: This is more of a band-aid than anything else, but it will help promote getting the club on an inside path. When you’re standing in your normal square stance, move your front foot a few inches closer to the ball. This will keep your lower body from getting ahead of your upper body, which will almost always cause an open club face. This will feel weird, but hit some shots this way to feel the club on the inside path.

Hopefully these tips will help you start each hole with a better off-the-tee launch! And Help you keep the ball in bounds and on the right fairway, safely away from car windshields and other hazards.

But what happens if your ball might be out of bounds? Luckily this caveman found some answers to that too at Golf Digest
Here is what to do, and the rules in a few “potentially” out of bounds scenarios:

Situation 1 You hit a shot toward an adjacent range. The ball might be out-of-bounds, but there are so many other balls in that general area you can’t be certain, and it’s too dangerous to go and search.

Unfortunately, you have to treat it as a lost ball and play another ball as near as possible to the spot from which the original ball was last played. You also must add a one-stroke penalty to your score. Rule 27-1

Situation 2 You hit a bad shot that hooks off the course and hits a house. The owner comes storming out the door, sees your ball in his yard, picks it up and throws it back onto the course.

If a ball in play and at rest is moved by an outside agency, it must be replaced. Rule 18-1 But since your shot went out-of-bounds, take a stroke penalty, and hit from the spot where you had previously played. Rule 27-1

Situation 3 In a stroke-play round, your ball lands in someone’s back yard next to the green. The other lawns near your ball are designated out-of-bounds by white stakes. But the yard where your ball lies isn’t marked.

Finish the hole with two balls, declaring beforehand the one you’d like to count. Play one as if the ball was out-of-bounds; play the other as if it was in-bounds. Ask at the end of the round for a ruling to record your score. Rule 3-3

Situation 4 Your ball is lying in-bounds next to a fence that marks the course’s boundary. You can’t take relief without penalty, and the only way to play the next shot is to stand on the other side and hit the fence.

Whack away. You can stand out-of-bounds to play a shot in-bounds, and it’s OK to move the ball by making a stroke that strikes the out-of-bounds fence directly behind the ball. Decision 14-1/5

Situation 5 You’re playing golf in a new housing development in which the empty lots are marked as out-of-bounds. You slice a shot, and it rolls through an empty lot and comes to rest in another fairway.

Unless there is a local rule in place designating fairways other than the one you’re playing as being out-of-bounds, your ball is in play. There’s no penalty in this case, either. Definitions: Out-of-bounds

Situation 6 Your ball is close to an out-of-bounds marker, but it’s still in play. However, a tree growing outside the boundary of the course has a few hanging branches that will interfere with your swing.

As much as you might like to, you can’t bend or break the branches to make your swing easier. The fact that the tree is out-of-bounds does not change the rule about improving the area of your intended swing. Decision 13-2/19

Check out these videos for more help!



Hope this helps all of my Rock Heads shoot some lower scores! Good Luck!

~Scratch

Celebrate The Fourth On The Course!

July 3rd, 2014

Golf Cart Parade Courtesy Of Markwallheiser.com

For most of America, this weekend is  laden with sun, barbeques, parades, and fireworks. But how many of you are playing golf? I am hoping most of you!

Military Golfer

Source: PGA National Veterans

 

If you don’t get a chance to golf, maybe you are in or will attend a Golf Cart Parade, which have become fairly big in the past few years. If you have pictures I definitely wanna see ‘em!

Even if you don’t get a chance to hit the green this weekend, I hope you all will make it out there soon! Many golf courses will be holding tournaments this holiday weekend.

 

  1. Call your local course to learn more!
  2. You can Book Your Tee Time through RBG and save some dough!
  3. Don’t have time for a full round? Check out these Nine-Hole Friendly Golf Courses!
  4. Part of the military? Take a look at this Military Golf Course Guide!

 

If you do go out in the heat, remember to use sunscreen(remember to reapply too) and drink water before, during, and after playing.

Let me wrap up by saying Happy 4th Of July, I hope it is fun for all of my Rock Heads! And to those of you on the East Coast, stay safe in the upcoming storm!

~Scratch

 

Enter To Win A FREE Laser Link XL 1000 Rangefinder!

July 1st, 2014

 

Giveaway Banner

 

It’s that time again Rock Heads! Time to enter my July Golf Giveaway for the Laser Link XL 1000 Rangefinder – valued at over $300! It’s FREE to enter so why haven’t you put your name in?

 

Giveaway!Enter to win via Facebook today! Don’t delay – the contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st!

 

  • The sweepstakes runs from July 1st to July 31st at 11:59pm, so you can’t procrastinate in entering to win these fabulous prizes.
  • You must be 18+ years old to enter and win. As much as we appreciate you young pups taking an interest in golf, get your parents to enter if you’re not quite reaching that age requirement.
  • All entries will be used and drawing will be random.
  • All you have to do is enter your email address. No purchase necessary! If you are chosen as a winner, the email address you submitted will be used to contact you to obtain an address to send the prize.
  • Only people residin’ in countries that we ship to can apply. International winners will get the value of the prize in caveman cash.

The sweepstakes lasts ’til 11:59pm July 31st, so enter quick for yer chance to win! Enter to win via Facebook today!

 

Now that that’s are out of the way, let’s take a look at our fabulous prize!

 

Laser Link XL 1000 Rangefinder!Laser Link XL 1000 Rangefinder!

The XL1000 is like nothing you’ve seen before from Laser Link Golf. A new design, new features, and new modes add a new dimension to the most complete line of laser rangefinder products in golf. In the hands of the right player, XL1000 is a powerful tool for managing your game.

Features:

  • Accu Flag Mode – Is it the distance to the flagstick or the distance to the trees behind? Accu Flag technology identifies the closest target to help you get your measurement to the flagstick no matter
  • Size: XL1000 is just large enough to use comfortably, and just compact enough for easy storage. And, at less than 8 ounces, those that love to walk will hardly even know it’s there.
  • Scan Mode – Scan the landscape to get multiple readings at the touch of a button.
  • 6x Magnification
  • IPX4 Waterproof Design – Do you like to play in the rain? Of course you don’t, but if you have to, do it knowing that your XL1000 will be there to help you play your best.
  • Range: 5 – 1000 yards. 5 – 300 yards to flag.
  • Measures in yards or meters
  • Measures DISTANCE ONLY so as to conform to USGA and R&A Rules of Golf, as well as USGA Handicap Guidelines.
  • Dimensions: 4.125”x 2.875” x 1.5”
  • Weight (with battery): 7.58 oz.
  • Power Source: CR2 3V Lithium
  • Display: Internal LCD
  •  

    So don’t delay Rock Heads, go Put Your Name In The Hat for a chance to win a NEW Laser Link XL 1000 Rangefinder!

    Why We’re Happy Tiger Is Back

    June 26th, 2014
    Tiger Woods at Congressional

    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    “I’m so pumped,” Keegan Bradley said, “It’s great news for golf and great news for the Tour. A no-Tiger Tour is not the same. … We need Tiger. The whole Tour needs Tiger and golf needs Tiger.”

    So, it’s official – Tiger Woods is back! This weekend, he hosts the Quicken Loans Classic at the Congressional Country Club in D.C. Now some of you might roll your eyes and groan, but hear me out! Tiger being back is the best thing for us golf lovers! Why? Because his return creates automatic buzz on the Tour, something that’s been missing for MONTHS. He doesn’t even need to be good this weekend; he just needs to be there.

    Even the other PGA Tour players are happy about it! Rory McIlroy said during the U.S. Open, “He has been the face of golf for the last 15, 20 years, and golf is a better sport and a better place with Tiger Woods in it.” And he’s right. Without Tiger, the sport wouldn’t get the sponsors or the coverage it does now. In many ways, Tiger made the sport well known to those who didn’t grow up golfing.

    Check these stats out – One way to tell Tiger’s impact? Television ratings. According to USA Today’s The Big Lead, ratings from Masters Sunday were 7.8—the lowest ratings ever for a non-Easter Sunday Masters finale. And the ratings for the U.S. Open were even worse. According to a report on AwfulAnnouncing.com, the ratings were a lowly 3.3. The take-away? Many people only watch golf when Tiger is playing.

    Tiger being back is great for a season that’s seen lots of wins by newbies – great for them, but not for casual fans. And if we want golf to grow, it will need to continue to be visible. We need non-soccer-loving America to choose to watch golf over the World Cup. And for that, we need Tiger.

    Check these links out for more info about Tiger’s return:

    The Bleacher Report’s analysis of his Thursday play

    This great primer on the Congressional Country Club
    A Quicken Loan National Preview from the No Laying Up blog

    Repair Your Grooves At Home!

    June 23rd, 2014

    Sharpening Grooves

    Sure, you may brush off your clubs or give them the occasional wash, but that shouldn’t be all your club maintenance You’re totally neglecting your grooves. Grooves are essential to performance; they help with the backspin of the ball. If your grooves are full of dirt or worn down, you won’t get the spin you need. Thankfully, Scratch is here to show you how easy it is the repair the groove face of your clubs.

    What You Need
    Warm Soapy Water
    Liquid Dish Detergent
    Scrub Brush or Toothbrush
    Masking Tape
    Groove Sharpening Tool
    Oil or Lubricant

    Step 1

    Clean the face of your clubs, including the grooves. Use warm, soapy water with a couple of tablespoons of liquid dish detergent and a scrub brush or toothbrush. Make sure the face of the club and the grooves are well cleaned. A toothpick can also help get dirt out form the grooves.

    Step 2

    Apply masking tape at the tow and heel of the club face at the outside edge of the grooves. This will keep your groove sharpener from damaging the face of the club should you accidentally slip out of the groove.

    Step 3

    Hold the groove sharpener like a pencil at a 45-degree angle to the face and draw it through the first groove. You don’t want to use much force at first. Do the 45-degree angle approximately five times, or until you begin to see the surface of the groove begin to take on its original shine.

    Step 4

    Turn the groove sharpener so that it’s completely vertical(aka perpendicular to the club) and continue to draw it through the groove several more times. This will recreate the original depth that the grooves had when the club was new. Most groove sharpeners have a restrictor so you can’t go past USGA depth, which is 0.02 inches.

    Step 5

    Put a drop of oil into the groove and repeat the sharpening process.When you see that the edges of the groove have cleaned up and the bottom of the groove is shining, move on to the next groove on the club.

    Tips

    Make sure that your groove sharpener is right for the grooves on your club. Grooves come in v-shape, u-shape and the controversial square-shape. Groove sharpeners are made for all three.Check the manufacturer’s specifications if you are uncertain.

    Unless noticeable, unusual damage occurs, groove sharpening should be required about every 10 rounds. The more frequently you sharpen your grooves, the less work it will take each time.

    Warnings

    If you’re going to play competitively, make sure that your grooves are no more than the USGA standard of 0.02 inches in depth.

    How To Change Your Grips 101

    June 19th, 2014
    Regrip your clubs

    Photo: The PGA of America

    Changing the golf grips on your clubs is easy and only takes about 30 minutes. It’s a great way to save some money year to year. Why pay someone when you can do it yourself? Just follow Scratch’s instructions and your clubs will feel like new in no time!

    What You’ll Need
    1. The new grips you’ll be using. Plus an extra in case you make a mistake.
    2. A tee.
    3. A bench vise (not essential, but it will make things easier).
    4. A rubber shaft clamps or vise pads to cradle the shaft, protecting it from damage, while the shaft is clamped in the vise.
    5. Double-sided grip tape.
    6. Scissors.
    7. A grip tape scraper.
    8. A utility knife with a hooked, rather than a pointed, blade. A pointed blade can damage graphite shafts.
    9. Grip solvent.
    10. A old rag.
    11. A paint tub or old container to catch the extra solvent.

    This may seem like a lot of things, but many of these can be found around the house and the rest you can find at discount prices in the Cave!

    Steps
    1. Place the rubber pads in your vise. This is important—you can easily bend the shaft with even the slightest pressure from the vise.

    2. Hold one end of the golf club securely under your arm, with the grip end in front of you.

    3. Using the utility knife (remember, use a hooked blade rather than a pointed blade), make a notch in the bottom of the grip (where it meets the shaft) and cut a line down down the the middle of the old grip, making sure to cut away from you. Make a notch in the bottom of the grip (where it meets the shaft) with the hook blade and cut a line down the middle of the grip. Make sure you cut away from you. Don’t be afraid to press the knife down to the shaft of the club when you are making your cuts.

    4. Remove the grip from bottom to top by pulling the material away from you. It should peel off like the wrapper on a candy cane.

    5. Remove all the old grip tape. This will probably mean some combination of peeling and scraping.

    6. Wet a cloth with grip solvent and clean off all the residue from the old grip tape. Make sure the shaft is completely dry before you go to the next step.

    7. Place the golf club into the vise, then secure the shaft into the bench vise. Be careful not to overtighten as that can damage the shaft.

    8. Measure and cut a piece of double-sided tape to match the length of the new grip. Make sure the tape is long enough to cover the entire grip area, add an extra 1/2 inch, then cut the tape off the roll.

    9. Take off the tape’s backing and wrap the tape around the shaft while being careful not to create any lumps or folds. Pinch the overlapped tape together and push the excess tape into the top of the shaft.

    10. Plug the vent hole in the butt end with a golf tee or your finger, and pour a generous portion of grip solvent inside the new grip. Close the open end of the grip with your hand and shake to cover the entire inside of the grip.

    11. Then pour the solvent from the grip over the entire length of the new grip tape (don’t forget to position a container under the butt end of the shaft to catch the solvent). Remove tee from grip hole.

    12. Position the opening of the new grip at the shaft butt while the grip tape is still wet with the solvent. Squeeze the open end of the grip and slide the grip onto the shaft, logo up. Continue sliding and pushing until you feel the end of shaft against the grip cap.

    13. The grip can now be properly aligned with the pattern centered on the shaft when the clubface is square to the target. This must happen within a minute or so after applying the grip. Get this wrong and you may unwittingly set up with the face open or closed.

    14. Let you regripped clubs dry for a day to make sure the bond is secure.

     

    More of a visual learner? Check out this instructional video from Golf Link!