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Archive: November 2008

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November 18, 2008

Jeev Milkha Singh Winning Bag

Posted at 4:36 PM by David Dusek

Jeevmilkhasingh_600 The field included major champions—including Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson—but the player who hoisted the hardware at the Singapore Open was India's Jeev Milkha Singh.

Already exempt into next season's U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, the win moved Singh's world ranking to No. 46. If he can hold that position until the end of the year, he'll earn a ticket to Augusta National and next season's Masters too.

An interesting aspect of Singh's set make-up is his choice of fairway woods—he uses a 2003 Big Bertha Steelhead III 3-wood and 2004 Big Bertha 5-wood.

It's not uncommon to see a pro with some "mature" fairway woods in his bag for one simple reason. Fairway woods are the toughest clubs to properly fit to a player. Unlike a driver, which players try to hit as far as possible, fairway woods need to send the ball a specific distance both off the tee and from the fairway. Finding a club that can dependably do that under both conditions is a tough task, so when pros find that elusive club, they don't let go easily.

Here is a list of the clubs Singh used to win in Singapore:

Driver:                    Callaway FT-3 (8.5°)
Fairway wood:       Callaway Big Bertha Steelhead III (12°), Big Bertha (18°)
Irons:                     Callaway FT (3-PW)
Wedges:                Ping Zing (54°, 58°)
Putter:                   Titleist by Scotty Cameron Circa '62 No. 6
Ball:                       Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

Titleist answers questions about Pro V1 injunction

Posted at 3:02 PM by David Dusek

As we recently reported, a court in Delaware granted Callaway Golf's request for an injunction to stop Acushnet from selling the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. Acushnet, however, plans to appeal the ruling and says it will not impact the company's ability to sell Pro V1s.

Now, on Titleist's Web site, the company has posted the answers to several questions that golfers might have about the ruling, including whether players will be able to buy the popular golf balls after December 31, 2008. Below are a few key questions and answers. All of the questions are here.

Will golfers be able to play and purchase Titleist Pro V1 golf balls after January 1, 2009?
Yes. The recent court order will not impact our ability to supply Golf Shops with Pro V1 golf balls. In September 2008, we converted production of the existing Pro V1 models so that they are outside the scope of the patents in question. Golf Shops can continue to order and take delivery of Pro V1 golf balls now and after January 1, 2009 and golfers can continue to play with and purchase Pro V1 with confidence.

How can I distinguish between the existing Pro V1 golf balls and the converted models?
Converted Pro V1 models have the same packaging and sidestamps as the existing models. However, there is a small black or red circular sticker or marking on every Pro V1 dozen box and sleeve to identify the converted production.

When can golfers play New 2009 Pro V1 golf balls?
Titleist will launch New 2009 Pro V1 golf balls in the 1st quarter of 2009. The technology and construction of New 2009 Pro V1 golf balls are outside the scope of the patents. In Q1 2009, golfers can learn about the exciting new product improvements via their local golf shop, on and in other Titleist advertising and communications.

November 14, 2008

PowerBilt's new nitrogen-infused driver

Posted at 9:15 AM by Josh Sanburn

Powerbiltairforceone You might think PowerBilt's full of it. You’d be right.

Billed as the next big thing in golf, PowerBilt unveiled its newest driver yesterday – the Air Force One, a club pressurized with nitrogen, which the company claims will help maximize distance and optimize a ball's spin rate.

By filling the head with 150 psi of nitrogen, the clubface is supported without any mechanical bracing, allowing PowerBilt to use a thinner face, which they claim maximizes the club's trampoline effect. (The thinner the clubface, the higher the effect.)

The driver creates up to 25 psi of trampoline effect at impact. Other drivers have 0 psi. I tested the nitrogen-filled drivers and hybrids, and the ball seemed to jump off the face more than my current driver. The clubs are very light and come in two distinct models – Geometric (above) and the traditionally shaped Player Series.

PowerBilt is not promoting the driver, which the company claims is leak-proof, as a gimmick but as a club that really gives players maximum distance. However, a nitrogen-pressurized driver coming from a company that has lost much of its market over the years will certainly be seen as not much more than an attention-getter. After testing the club, it seemed to give me a bit more distance, especially when I found the sweet spot. So I'd say it’s at least worth taking for a spin.

The driver will be available in December for $399.

November 12, 2008

TaylorMade releases new Rossa TP putters

Posted at 2:46 PM by David Dusek

Taylormadeputters_600 TaylorMade has just announced the release of five new premium putters. The new Rossa TP by Kia Ma putters are machine-milled from 1020 carbon steel before receiving a dark finish.

The Daytona, a classically styled heel-toe weighted putter with a plumber's neck, is already in the bag of Justin Rose, Andres Romero and Sergio Garcia. It has three tungsten weight plugs placed in both the heel and toe areas for optimal balance and to help the putterhead resist twisting on slightly off-center hits.

The Monaco and Imola blade-style putters also utilize six tungsten weight plugs, while the two mallet putters—the Monte Carlo and Maranello—do not. Click on the image for a better look at the whole collection.

Kia Ma, who's been with TaylorMade for six years, started in the golf business in 1980 after emigrating to the United States from Vietnam. Before the introduction of the Rossa TP series that bears his name,  his putters were used exclusively by Tour professionals.

The putters will be available for purchase starting in mid-December, with a suggested retail price of $360.

November 11, 2008

Callaway wins post-trial motions against Acushnet

Posted at 5:01 PM by David Dusek

A court in Delaware has granted Callaway Golf's request for an injunction to stop Acushnet from selling the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. Acushnet, however, plans to appeal the ruling and says it will not impact the company's ability to sell Pro V1s.

Title299 The United States District Court in Wilmington, Del., made the ruling on Monday in the long-running dispute between the two companies over four Callaway patents and the Pro V1 line of balls. According to a release by Callaway, the injunction is to take effect "no later than January 1, 2009."

Steve McCracken, senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Callaway, said in the release: "Callaway Golf has invested millions of dollars in research and development to create innovative products for millions of golfers around the world, and has protected those products with one of the broadest patent portfolios in golf. We are very pleased with today's decision which will stop the sale of these infringing Pro V1 golf balls."

Joe Nauman, Acushnet's executive vice president of corporate and legal, said in a statement: "We strongly disagree with the judge's ruling and will file an appeal and seek relief from the injunction."

Nauman went on to say, "It's important to recognize that this ruling will not have any impact on our ability to supply our customers with Pro V1 golf balls because of the following actions which we have undertaken. In September 2008, we converted production of the existing Pro V1 models so that they are outside of the patents in question. And we have also developed, and will be introducing, new and improved Pro V1 products in the first quarter of 2009 that are also outside the scope of the patents in question."

Based on that statement, golfers who wish to purchase Pro V1 balls should expect to find them in pro shops for the immediate future despite the legal victory for Callaway. Essentially, Acushnet seems to be arguing that the patents at the heart of the suit are no longer in use for current Pro V1 models. Callaway also said in its release that "professional golfers will be allowed to play Pro V1 golf balls through the end of this calendar year."

In December 2007, a jury ruled that Acushnet had infringed on four Callaway patents. After that decision, Callaway Golf filed a motion seeking to bring a halt to the production and sale of the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. That motion led to Monday's ruling.

(Photo by Greg Lord)

November 10, 2008

Davis Love's Winning Clubs

Posted at 4:20 PM by David Dusek

Davislove_400x600 Along with a nice check for $828,000, Davis Love's win last weekend in Orlando gave him permanent job security in the form of a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour.

For the week, the 44-year-old Love ranked fifth in greens in regulation (83.3%), seventh in putting average (1.65) and 14th in driving distance (289.9 yards).

For years, Love has had one of the widest, most powerful swings on the PGA Tour. He recently switched from a Titleist 905R (7.5°) driver to a 909D3 (8.5°) driver. The D3, which has a 440-cc titanium head, is designed for players who generate a lot of spin and want a slightly lower launch angle. The shaft Love uses, a 75-gram UST Proforce V2, is also designed for players who are seeking a flatter ball flight.

Here is a complete list of the clubs Love used to win the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney World.

Driver:                  Titleist 909D3 (8.5°)
Fairway wood:      Titleist 909F3 (13°, 18°)
Irons:                    Titleist Forged 680 (3-9)
Wedges:               Titleist Vokey 200 Series (50°, 56°), Vokey E Grind (60°)
Putter:                  Titleist by Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport
Ball:                      Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia making equipment changes

Posted at 7:24 AM by David Dusek

Taylormadetourpreferred_600 Sergio Garcia recently said that one of his short-term goals was to supplant Phil Mickelson as No. 2 in the world rankings. He made the move with his victory at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. To help him in his quest, Garcia enlisted the help of some new gear.

He recently switched from TaylorMade's Tour Burner driver to the company's new r7 Limited (9.5°). The Limited, which was released in August, has a more triangular shape and three adjustable weight ports (the Tour Burner does not have adjustable weight ports).

Having played TaylorMade's rac MB TP irons previously, he also seems to have switched to the new Tour Preferred irons (3-PW). His new clubs have a small, undercut cavity  and allow the company to position weight patents in the heel and toe areas.  The Tour Preferred irons also feature TaylorMade's Inverted Cone, which is designed to expand the sweet spot. Click on the image above for a better look.

Sergiogarciavolvomasters_600But the most significant change is Sergio's flat stick. In the weeks leading up to his victory at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May, Garcia had reverted to a vintage Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter that he'd used in 1999. But after shaping and grinding a TaylorMade Rossa Daytona himself, he sent the putter to the company and had them make a special silver-colored version. Like the Cameron, it's a classic heel-toe weighted design with a plumber's neck and single alignment line. However, unlike off-the-rack Daytonas, Garcia's does not have a red-grooved AGSI+ insert.

No word on how the new putter tastes.

(Club photos provided by TaylorMade;
Garcia photo by Paul White/AP Photos)

November 05, 2008

What's in John Daly's Bag?

Posted at 3:01 PM by David Dusek

Johndaly Long John goes through golf clubs, and relationships with manufacturers, almost as fast as he chugs Diet Cokes. John Garrity highlighted one incident that led to a parting of the ways between Daly and a manufacturer in a recent column.

But that wasn't half as bad as Daly's corporate backstab at the 2005 PGA Championship. On that occasion, an angry Daly whacked his golf bag with his Dunlop putter, damaging the club so badly that he had to putt with his lob wedge for seven holes. After the round, however, Daly put the blame squarely on ... the people who signed his endorsement checks! "My putter came loose again," he groused. "That's happened a few times this year, where the head has fallen off. Dunlop has been trying really hard to make a putter, and it just keeps coming off."

Having established that the engineers at Dunlop Sports, after nearly a century manufacturing golf and tennis gear, didn't know how to use epoxy, Daly delivered the coup de grace: "I've had it. I'm just going to putt with my L-wedge."

Companies have looked at Daly as a double-edged sword for years. He has a huge fan base that seems to love him unconditionally, and many of those fans gravitate to golf specifically because of John. His affable charisma comes through on television commercials, and he's been willing to pitch just about anything. But signing Daly means associating your brand with a player who has been more likely to end up in the police blotter than the winner's circle.

Recently I spoke with a representative from a major manufacturer that used to be endorsed by Daly. "He just does not represent our brand image anymore," he said. You have to believe that other companies feel the same way.

Using recent photographs, as well as information from John Daly's official website, we came up with a list of the  equipment we believe he is currently using. By the time you read this, any and all of the information may have changed, but that's just another part of John Daly's world.

Driver:                  TaylorMade Burner (10.5°)*
Fairway wood:     TaylorMade V Steel (13°)
Hybrid:                 TaylorMade TP Rescue (17°)
Irons:                    Mizuno MP 67 (3-PW)
Wedges:               Titleist Vokey Spin Milled (52°, 60°)
Putter:                  Titleist by Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport 2
Ball:                      Callaway i Tour
*Daly has also recently used the TaylorMade r7 Limited.

(Photo by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

November 03, 2008

Ryan Palmer's Winning Clubs

Posted at 1:46 PM by David Dusek

Ryanpalmer_600 With a logjam at the top of the leaderboard, Ryan Palmer sank a 10-foot birdie on the 18th hole Sunday to break a six-way tie and win the Ginn sur Mer Classic. Palmer jumped from No. 143 to No. 73 on the money list, securing his place on the PGA Tour for two more years.

"This proved to me that I can play in any kind of condition," Palmer said Sunday evening, "Under any kind of circumstance, with the wind all week, with the weather today, with the penalty on 10. But this one means more to me because of what I've been through the last year and a half, two years. Last year it wasn't great. It was a rough year. I struggled with trying to decide whether to switch clubs or not."

Here is a complete list of the clubs Palmer decided to use to earn his win at Ocean Hammock.

Driver:                   TaylorMade Tour Burner TP (10°)
Fairway woods:    TaylorMade Burner (14.5°, 17.5°)
Irons:                     Titleist AP2 (4-9)
Wedges:                Titleist Vokey Design (48°), TaylorMade Milled Z (52°, 54°, 58°)
Putter:                   Odyssey Dual Force Rossie II
Ball:                       Titleist Pro V1

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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