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Archive: June 2008

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June 30, 2008

Kenny Perry's Buick Open Winning Clubs

Posted at 7:58 AM by David Dusek

Kenyperry_400x500 If his win at the Memorial didn't earn him a spot on the United States Ryder Cup team, Keny Perry's victory at last weekend's Buick Open certainly did.

Long known as one of the best ballstrikers on the PGA Tour, Perry is now ranked second in scoring average (69.56) and has the second-longest consecutive cut streak (17) behind Tiger Woods (29).

After winning at Memorial Perry skipped the U.S. Open, and you won't see him at the British Open in two weeks either. Perry set his schedule up at the beginning of the year with the Ryder Cup, and not majors, foremost in his mind. When asked if he might now head to Royal Birkdale, since he is seemingly sure to make the Ryder Cup team, he said, "I've already committed to [Milwaukee]. That just wouldn't look good, in my opinion, to be committed and then just stone them to go play in the British Open; that ain't right. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to stand my word. I committed to them the first of the year and that's where I'm going."

A straight shooter on the course, and off it too, here are the clubs Perry used to win the Buick Open:

Driver                  TaylorMade Tour Burner (9°)
Fairway Woods    TaylorMade Burner TP (15° and 17.5°)
Irons                    TaylorMade r7 (3-PW)
Wedges                TaylorMade Z TP (54°) and Cleveland CG14 (60°)
Putter                  Ping G2i Craz-E
Ball                      Titleist ProV1x

(Photo: Gregory Shamu/Getty Images)

June 23, 2008

Stewart Cink's Winning Bag

Posted at 4:07 PM by David Dusek

Cink_tpcriver_450x600 When a golfer's worst round of the tournament is a three-under par 67, he knows that he'll be in contention to earn a big check on Sunday. Stewart Cink, who posted scores of 66-64-65-67, won the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands last weekend and the $1.08 million first-prize check.

Cink's entire game was hot in Connecticut, as he hit 82% of the fairways, averaged 299 yards off the tee and 27 putts per round.

Here is a look at what the former Georgia Tech All-American had in his bag.

Driver                    Nike SQ Sumo² Tour (8.5°)
Fairway woods     Nike SQ 2 (15°, 19°)
Irons                      Nike Pro Combo OS (3-4), CCi Forged (5-PW)
Wedges                 Nike Pro Combo (54˚, 60˚)
Putter                    Never Compromise Sub 30 M3
Ball                        Nike One Black

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

June 15, 2008

What's in Tiger's U.S. Open bag?

Posted at 11:14 PM by David Dusek

SAN DIEGO —Tigersusobag_400x400_2 Torrey Pines South Course was a brutal test this year. The 7,643-yard layout demanded distance while the deep Kikuyu rough put a premium on accuracy.

The clubs that Tiger Woods uses are not designed to be forgiving; he demands the utmost feel and is more concerned with being able to shape shots than straighten a slice.

Unlike Phil Mickelson, who loves to tinker with his set composition, Woods rarely makes changes. When courses are running fast and the rough is not especially wet or deep, he commonly takes out his 19° 5-wood and puts in a 2-iron. As you might recall, he used the 2-iron off the tee on many occasions at Royal Liverpool when he won the 2006 British Open. Here at Torrey Pines, the 5-wood is in the bag under a Kiwi bird head cover (an homage to his caddie, Steve Williams, who is from New Zealand).

Tiger Woods Clubs:
Driver                    Nike SasQuatch Tour (7.5°)
Fairway woods     Nike SasQuatch Sumo (15°, 19°)
Irons                      Nike Forged Blades (3-PW)   
Wedges                 Nike Forged (56°, 60°)
Putter                    Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2
Ball                        Nike One PlatinumTigerdrivershaft_600x400

(Bag photo by Simon Bruty)

UPDATE -- A comment listed below was posted on Wednesday morning that said Tiger uses a steel shaft in his driver. According to Nike, and as verified by photo research, he uses is a Mitsubishi Diamana 83 X graphite shaft that happens to be silver in color. To see it more clearly, click on the photo on the right.

(Woods photo by Al Tielemans/SI)

Lee Westwood's U.S. Open clubs

Posted at 6:05 PM by David Dusek

Westwoduso_600x450SAN DIEGO — After shooting 70 on Saturday to get himself into Sunday's final pairing with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open, Lee Westwood was asked what he needed to do to prepare for the final round. "If you let it get to you, you have problems. But I'm a fairly calm person and fairly level-headed, so I'll just stick with my own game plan and try to do the things I'm doing."

What he'd been doing was avoiding big numbers, hitting fairways (60% so far this week) and putting very well (1.59 putts per green in regulation).

Westwood missed getting into the Monday playoff with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate by only one shot. It was his best performance in a major to date.

Here is a list of the clubs in Westwood's bag at Torrey Pines.

Driver                   Ping G10 (9.5°)
Fairway wood     Ping G10 (14° and 18.5°)
Irons                     Ping i10 (3-PW)
Wedges               Ping Tour W (54° and 58°)
Putter                  Ping G5i UG-LE
Ball                      Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Fred Vuich)

June 14, 2008

Rocco Mediate's artistic wedges

Posted at 5:09 PM by David Dusek

Mediateswedges_450x600SAN DIEGO — When it comes to short game, many of the game's premier players show a lot of creativity. But Rocco Mediate, who started the third round of the 108th U.S. Open tied with Robert Karlsson and Tiger Woods in second place, takes it to a whole new level.

Mediate stamps and colors the back of his Callaway X Forged wedges himself. All of the Xs and shapes that you see on the back of his wedges were made by hammering a metal stamp directly into the steel, then filling in the area with paint.

"I'm nuts, I'm a little bit of a lost soul," he told me after his press conference Friday afternoon.

Click on the image to see his handiwork more clearly.

Rocco Mediate's clubs:
Driver                Callaway FT-5 (8.5°)
Fairway wood    Callaway Ft-i Squareway (15°)
Hybrid               Callaway X Hybrid (18°)
Irons                  Callaway X-20 (3-PW)
Wedges              Callaway X Forged (52° and 56°)
Putter                Odyssey Sabertooth White Hot XG
Ball                    Callaway Tour ix

June 13, 2008

Davis Love turns to older irons at Torrey Pines

Posted at 8:38 PM by David Dusek

Davislovefriopen_450x600 SAN DIEGO — After shooting 72-69 in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open, Davis Love finds himself near the top of the leaderboard at a major for the first time since the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

Love tore tendons in his left ankle when he stepped in a hole during a non-competitive round in September. He's still coming back from the injury, and I asked him if he'd been forced to make any adjustments to his equipment.

"Nope, I came right back to the same old stuff I was using," he said Friday afternoon. "I've hit up at TPI [Titleist Performance Institute in Carlsbad, Calif.] to see if I'm doing the right things, hitting it good and my numbers are all the same, but there weren't any changes."

Love said he expected the computers and 3D models at TPI to show that he was keeping his weight over his right side and falling back slightly as he made his swing. He was right; they did. Jack Lumpkin, a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher and Love's coach, helped him correct the problem on the range at Torrey Pines on Wednesday. "He said, 'You've got to go ahead and plant it, your left foot, no matter how it feels,'" said Love.

When asked about his set makeup for the U.S. Open, Love lowered his voice and coyly said, "Actually, starting this week, I went back to my old, old irons. So yeah, this week I've got almost the exact same set I had when I got hurt. Except for the putter."

Love's irons of choice are Titleist 680s. "I had a new set of 680s that I had broke out over the winter. I've got a bunch of new stuff to play with, and I tried the AP2s in Los Angeles [Northern Trust Open at Riviera], but ..."

Love would not elaborate on why he chose to use the older set of irons instead of the new set, but players often talk about liking clubs that are slightly broken in before putting them into play in a big event. Maybe, under U.S. Open pressure, he simply wants to go with the clubs he knows best.

Davis Love's Clubs
Driver                 Titleist Pro Titanium 905R (7.5°)
Fairway woods    Titleist prototype (13°, 18°)
Irons                   Titleist 680 (3-9)
Wedges               Titleist Vokey Design 200 series (50°, 55°, 60°)
Putter                 Titleist by Scott Cameron 009
Ball                     Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Cabrera's patriotic driver shaft

Posted at 12:38 PM by David Dusek

Cabrerashaft_600x450SAN DIEGO — After shooting an opening-round 79, defending U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera is a long shot to retain his title. But if the man they call The Duck is look for inspiration, he doesn't have to look any farther than the shaft of his driver. Cabrera has an Argentinean  flag on his 45 1/4-inch Aldila ProtoPype ADX shaft. The shaft weighs 80 grams and is X-stiff. Click on the photo for a better look.

June 12, 2008

Stuart Appleby's clubs

Posted at 8:54 PM by David Dusek

Appleby_600x400 SAN DIEGO — Stuart Appleby matched his lowest career score in a U.S. Open Thursday when he shot 69. Previously, the Australian had a 69 in the fourth round of the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage and the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.

One of the steadiest players on the PGA Tour, Appleby hit 12 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens. He also avoided three putting.

Here are the clubs Appleby had in his bag:
Driver Bridgestone J33P (9.5°)
Fairway woods Bridgestone Golf Prototype (15°), J33R (18°)
Irons J36 Cavity Back (3-PW)
Wedges Bridgestone prototype WC (53°, 60°)
Putter Zen ZB1
Ball Tour B330-S

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson explains his 'No Driver' strategy.

Posted at 6:13 PM by David Dusek

Phil3woodthur_600x600SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson decided not to carry a driver in his bag Thursday at the U.S. Open. Here is what he had to say in his post-round press conference:

Your driver, Phil, not a driver, we talked all about it this morning. What is it? The 11 and a half degree?
"No, no, that's my 3-wood I've been using all year. You noticed that I didn't have a driver today, huh? My game plan was that I only want to hit it a certain distance, I don't really want to hit it past 300 yards on most of the par-4s because it starts running into the rough. And I felt like with the fairways being firm like they were today all I needed was 3-wood on the holes.

Now if it rains or gets softer, I'll certainly pull driver out. But my game plan for months was, if it's firm fairways like I expected, 3-wood was all I needed. And I was able to take advantage of the two par-5s and get home no problem and that's all that, that's the most important thing."

Did you have it in there in the practice rounds as well?
"I carried driver, I just didn't hit it."

Was it to make room for an extra wedge, is that what it was?
"I have four wedges in there. I took out my sand wedge and I teed off with 3-wood and hybrid all day today." [Mickelson is using a Callaway prototype pitching wedge and Forged Chrome Mac Daddy 52°, 60°, 64° wedges.]

Was it disappointing early, having not used driver, and using that game plan, when you weren't hitting the fairway?
"Oh, yeah. When I hit it in the rough — I had been hitting almost all the fairways with this 3-wood in practice rounds and so forth. So when I made some terrible swings and hit in the rough it kind of defeats the game plan because now I'm short and crooked.

But when I started hitting fairways coming down the stretch I made birdies. So I expect to swing a little bit more confidently like I did on the back nine as opposed to the start and I know this happens when I play and don't play the week before a major. I'm always a little rusty on the front nine. And I'm glad that I was able to keep it in check and only shoot a few over and recover on the back."

Is 3-wood a decision you'll make tomorrow just before the round?
"No, it will have to rain. I mean, it will have to rain and soften the fairways in order for me to put in a club that goes longer than that 3-wood."

Phil, how strong is that 3-wood?
"It's just a normal 3-wood. You guys just have not hit our new Callaway FT fairway woods yet, have you? They go a long ways."

15°?
"Yeah."

Can you remember never carrying a driver in a round?
"I don't think I ever have. I know Pelz has been wanting me to play a tournament without hitting driver and hitting 3-woods all the way through, so here you are Dave.

Look, when the fairways run out like this, you can only hit it a certain distance and then the fairway starts tightening up. Of course, they looked pretty tight for me on the first 13 holes too."

(Photo by John Biever/SI)

More Fairway Wood Content:
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for better players
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for multiple player types
- GOLF.com Club Finder: Fairway woods

Robert Karlsson's clubs

Posted at 4:08 PM by David Dusek

Karlsson_400x500SAN DIEGO — Hollywood loves to remake classic comics into modern blockbusters. The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Superman ... all huge hits.

If there is a film version of Thor on the way, Robert Karlsson might get a call from a casting agent. Standing 6-foot 5-inches tall, the 39-year-old Swede looks like he could be a formidable outside linebacker. But thankfully for Nick Faldo and the European Ryder Cup team, he's a golfer on the rise. Karlsson has tied for third or better in each of his last four events and is now ranked No. 28 in the world.

Thursday at the U.S. Open, Karlsson shot an opening-round 70.

According to Titleist's Web site, here is what Karlsson has in his bag at Torrey Pines:

Driver Titleist 907D Prototype (8.5°)
Fairway woods Titleist 906F2 (15°, 18°)
Irons Titleist Z Muscle Forged (4-PW)
Wedges Titleist Vokey Design 200 Series (49°), Spin Milled (56°, 60°)
Putter Titleist by Scott Cameron Newport 2
Ball  Titleist Pro V1x

John Garrity has also blogged about Karlsson over in the Press Tent.

(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

No. 1's new clothes

Posted at 11:02 AM by David Dusek

SAN DIEGO — For all you Tiger fans out there, Nike says that these are the shirts that Tiger Woods will wear later this week at Torrey Pines.

                                               
Tiger_clothing04_200x282
Thursday: Nike Dri-Fit Dispersed Stripe Polo - Pacific Blue
Tiger_clothing02_200x282_2
Friday: Nike Dri-Fit Ministripe Polo - Green Been
Tiger_clothing03_200x282
Saturday: Nike Dri-Fit Dropstripe Polo - Purple Frost
Tiger_clothing01_200x282
Sunday: Nike Dri-Fit Drop Needle Polo - Carmine

Photos provided by Nike

** After reading the comment by Pete Carter on Sunday, GOLF.com contacted a representative of Nike Golf. Here is what that person said regarding the availability of the clothes Tiger wears.

"We sell all the shirts that Tiger wears in competition. All the shirts he wears are from the current apparel line. Once there is a new season, Tiger wears the new season's shirts. He does not wear the shirts until they are available at retail and has never worn a shirt in competition that you can't buy at a retailer. Golf Galaxy and Golfsmith each carry the Nike Golf Tiger Woods collection which is the collection all of Tiger's shirts are from."

June 11, 2008

Nasty rough calls for sharp grooves

Posted at 7:57 PM by David Dusek

Torrey_pines_roughSAN DIEGO — The kikuyu rough here at Torrey Pines gets deeper the farther your stray from the lush fairways. Miss the short stuff by a few feet and your ball will likely perch in the two-inch-deep grass. Blow your shot 20 yards wide and you'll end  up in a five- or six-inch-deep mess. Click on the photo at right for a closer look.

Since everyone is going to miss fairways and greens, the most popular request in the equipment vans this week is for fresh wedges. "Guys are looking for a little more bite out of this rough," said Wade Liles, TaylorMade's PGA Tour technician. "We're making them some of our Z Groove wedges. It's got a little bit more aggressive groove to give you more bite, more check. And of course at an event like this where the rough is thicker and the greens are quick, that's what you are looking for." TayorMade created new Z Groove wedges for Sergio Garcia before the Players Championship, and another set this week.

In the Callaway truck, company club builders have made about 20 wedges for players. "'Fresh grooves' is a phrase we have been using a lot," said Barry Lyda, Callaway's pro tour representative. "And several of the guys are going to a 62° or 63° wedge and trying them. They have taken them out in practice rounds to see if it is something that they'll need." Michael Campbell, winner of the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, tested a Callaway 63° this week.
Vijays_cleveland_wedges
According to Cleveland Golf's Michael Jolly, Vijay Singh will also be using new Cleveland CG 12 wedges (right) at the U.S. Open. The Big Fijian will have a 54° sand wedge, a 60° lob wedge (bent to 59°) and a 64° wedge too.

On the other side of the spectrum, Bob Vokey, wedge designer for Titleist, said his workload has been lighter than usual. "At first I thought I would get lots of requests, but it's been very few in relation to what I would normally get." Vokey said he's definitely had fewer requests at Torrey Pines than he did at Oakmont or Winged Foot. "Because of the way Oakmont was set up, I made a few new 64° wedges, but not this year. I just did a little work to D.J. Trahan's 64°. That's it."

Still, he made replacement wedges for both Steve Stricker and the 2006 U.S. Open champion, Geoff Ogilvy. Again, both players wanted to have sharp, fresh grooves to help them improve their short-game touch.

Stricker will be using a Vokey Design 60° wedge with 12° of bounce. Ogilvy opts for a Vokey Design 60° T Grind wedge. It's the same style of wedge he played at Winged Foot.

June 10, 2008

Mickelson won't use five wedges at Torrey Pines

Posted at 7:20 PM by David Dusek

Philusotues_450x600SAN DIEGO — During Phil Mickelson's press conference Tuesday, he said, "I like this golf course because it tests not only your long game, but also your short game."

Hearing that made me wonder if Mickelson would elect to carry five wedges in his bag as he did recently in his win at Colonial. So I asked, and here's what he had to say.
 
"I can't use five wedges here, it's too long. I could drive it as much as I want and I'd never have wedge on any of those par 4s. I had to take out at least one wedge. I'm debating on a second, but my sand wedge won't be in the bag.

That will leave a bit of an interesting predicament if I have — if I get to No. 18 [a 573-yard par 5] and I have to lay up. I'm either going to get really close to the lake or I'm going to have to play back a little more to get to my gap wedge.

There won't be a problem on 13 [a 614-yard par 5] because the layup area goes to where a gap or pitching wedge would be. There will be a little issue on 9 [a 612-yard par 5], but I don't foresee that as a problem. Those are the three areas of concern with my wedges because I can't get wedge into any of the par 4s, other than 2 [389 yards], and even that I can't get more than a pitching or a gap."

Phil uses Callaway X Forged Chrome Mack Daddy wedges.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

More on Mickelson:

- Tiger and Phil's group getting a lot of attention

- PGA Tour Confidential: Could this be Phil's year?

Cabrera asks Ping to give him hope at Torrey Pines

Posted at 4:39 PM by David Dusek

Cabrera2SAN DIEGO — On the practice green last month at TPC Sawgrass, I saw 2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera hard at work on the putting green. Really, really hard at work.

Cabrera was going back and forth between using a Ping Redwood Anser, the putter he used to win at Oakmont, and a belly putter that appeared to be a Ping G2i Craz-E. Click on the image at right for a better look at Cabrera, in the green shirt, trying out the belly putter.

After talking with some of Ping's club fitters and tour representatives Monday near the range at Torrey Pines, it sounds like Cabrera is still searching.
Anser4
"That's his demon," said Ping's Matt Rollins. "But as he tells us, 'It's not the putter, it's the puttee. But I need some hope. Just give me something that gives me hope.'"

To give Cabrera some hope, Ping had an Anser 4 putter (right)  shipped overnight from Phoenix to La Jolla. Cabrera picked up the putter, which was first released back in 1982, this morning. He will practice with it today, but he will also practice with the Redwood Anser.

Who knows which one El Pato (The Duck) will throw in his bag for his first round on Thursday afternoon?

Angel Cabrera's clubs
:
Driver                Rapture (7.5° with playing loft of 8.75°)
Fairway wood  Ping TiSI Tec 3-wood (14°)
Irons                 Ping Rapture (2), S58 (3-PW)
Wedges            Tour W (54°, 60°)
Putter                Anser 4/Ping Redwood Anser

More on Cabrera:
- Two to Tango: Cabrera and his teacher
- Angel Cabrera remains thoughtful, fiery and blunt
- From the barrio to the U.S. Open

June 09, 2008

Justin Leonard's Winning Clubs

Posted at 3:29 PM by David Dusek

Justinleonard_600x400After going winless for more than two years on the PGA Tour, Justin Leonard has now won the Valero Texas Open and the Stanford St. Jude Championship in the span of eight months.

After Leonard reunited with his former coach Randy Smith last season, he made a minor adjustment to his driver. To add distance, Leonard had Nike build him a SasQuatch Sumo 5000 driver with a 47-inch shaft, an inch longer than standard.

With the longer driver, Leonard averaged eight more yards per drive in Memphis last weekend than he did on the same course a year ago. But that longer driver can be tough to control; Leonard hit 15% fewer fairways this year.

It's also interesting to note that in a golf bag filled with Nike gear, Leonard carries a circa-2002 Callaway Big Bertha 4+ fairway wood. Many Tour players develop a deep faith in a particular fairway wood's ability to produce a specific distance, so they are loathe to find a replacement. According to his Web site, Leonard hits the club 245 yards.

Driver                 Nike SasQuatch Sumo 5000 (9.5°)
Fairway woods    Nike SQ2 (17°), Callaway Big Bertha Steelhead 4+ (19°)
Irons                   Nike Pro Combo Tungsten (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)
Wedges              Nike SV Tour (54° and 58°)
Putter                 Titleist by Scotty Cameron Del Mar 3.5
Ball                     Nike One Platinum

(Photo by Marc Feldman/Getty Images)




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