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February 28, 2009

Ogilvy Successful With His New 3-Wood

Posted at 11:05 AM by David Dusek

Geoffogilvycobragolf MARANA, Ariz. — Four months before he won the 2006 U.S. Open, Geoff Ogilvy defeated Davis Love 4 and 3 to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. The following year, the Aussie advanced to the final before losing 3 and 2 to Henrik Stenson. On Friday, Ogilvy defeated Camilo Villegas 2 and 1 to advance to the quarterfinals of this season's event.

When I spoke with him this week on the range, Ogilvy said he made a tough equipment change last week at Riviera and started carrying a new Cobra S9-1 3-wood.

"The 3-wood is the hardest club in your bag to get right," he said. For most Tour players, the 3-wood is the only wood that needs to create the same launch conditions, and fly the same distance, both off the tee and from the fairway.

Ogilvy had been using a King Cobra X-Speed 3-wood. "It was awesome, and I could choke down on and do different stuff with it," he said. "It was quite versatile. The new one is very good, too."

For Ogilvy, who said he tends to create a lot of spin with his swing, finding just the right 3-wood is especially tough. "I tend to hit the ball high, but if I find a 3-wood that creates the flight that I want to see it tends to go too far because it doesn't have enough loft," he said.

That may sound like a nice problem to have, but for Ogilvy, it genuinely is cause for concern.

"I would be hitting it 300 with a driver, 280 with a 3-wood and 225 with a 2-iron. That's not right," he explained. That large distance gap between the 3-wood and 2-iron could put him in a bind on the course. "The balance for me is finding one that goes far enough for me to be happy, but not go too far."

Ogilvy had been testing the S9-1 on the range since the Mercedes Championship in January, an event he won. He admitted its performance has always been a little better than his old 3-wood, but, as he repeated, "It's just changing a club that is hard to change."

This week, Ogilvy also swapped out his King Cobra Pro CB Forged 2-iron and put in a 5-wood. The 5-wood's loft has been bent from 18° to 20° to help Ogilvy make the ball stop faster on the undulating greens of the Ritz-Carlton Course at Dove Mountain.

Here is a complete list of the clubs in Ogilvy's bag this week:

Driver:                       King Cobra S9-1 Pro D (10.5°) with Aldila VooDoo XVS8 shaft
Fairway woods:        King Cobra S9-1 Pro (15°, 20°) with Fujikura Sapphire shaft,
Irons:                         King Cobra Pro MB (3-9) with Royal Precision FCM Rifle 7.3 shafts
Wedges:                    Titleist Vokey Design (50°, 55°), Spin Milled (60°)
Putter:                      Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport prototype
Ball:                          Titleist Pro V1 (2009)

Geoff Ogilvy Swing Sequence | GOLF Magazine Interview

(Photo by Chris Carlson/AP Photos)

February 25, 2009

Stewart Cink's New Putter and Unique Wedge

Posted at 10:05 AM by David Dusek

StewartcinknikeclubsMARANA, Ariz. – Stewart Cink was the runner-up last year at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He defeated Angel Cabrera, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Justin Leonard before losing, 8 and 7, in the 36-hole final to Tiger Woods.

Twelve months later, Cink is hoping a new club will help him earn the title here.

"I've got a brand-new putter," he told me with a grin. "I've been using that Never Compromise putter for about six years, but now I'm going with a putter from Yes! Golf. I really like their ideas, and the guys who work for them, so I'm experimenting."

The putter Cink is using is a Lizzie, and like his Never Compromise, it's a belly putter. The Yes! Lizzie is a mallet forged from 303 stainless steel that is available in four different hosel styles. Cink has gone with a toe-down balanced model with half a shaft's width of offset. (For a better look, click on the top photo.)

StewartcinknikesandwedgeBut the most interesting club in Cink's bag is his Nike Victory Red 54°sand wedge.

"Because I'm so tall, I am trying to get my clubs a little bit longer," he said. "They're standard length, but I'm trying, and my first little toe in the water is that wedge, which is a little bit longer."

It's just 1/4-inch longer, but that slight difference increases the swing weight of the club, making it feel heavier. To offset that added swing weight, two small holes have been bored into the back of the head. (Click on the bottom photo for a closer look.) Reducing the overall weight of the club cancels the extra swing weight to match Cink preference.

Angel Cabrera's Unique Not-Quite-Belly-Length Putter

Posted at 9:59 AM by David Dusek

Angelcabrerapingputter_00x350 MARANA, Ariz. — One of the most interesting matches slated for the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship pits Angel Cabrera, winner of the 2007 U.S. Open Championship, against Phil Mickelson.

The Argentine has experimented with many different types of putters — including blades, mallets and belly putters — since his win at Oakmont. This week he's using a 39-inch Ping i-Series 1/2 Craz-E B. It's four to five inches longer than most standard putters, but shorter than a belly putter. Click on the photo for a better look.

When I asked him about it Tuesday afternoon, Cabrera said through an interpreter, "I used a 39-inch putter in 2005 when I won the BMW Championship on the European Tour. I played well with the putter back then."

Cabrera explained that he had lost some feel on the greens recently, and he hoped that going back to this putter would help him regain his touch.

Not only is the length unique, so is the grip. It's designed for a belly putter and extends well down the shaft. However, Cabrera holds it and swings it in a traditional style.

"It's to compensate for the weight of the putter," he said.

According to Ping, the head of Cabrera's putter weighs 385 grams, which is 20 grams heavier than the head of a standard-length i-Series 1/2 Craz-E putter. Therefore, the weight of the grip improves the putter's balance.

February 24, 2009

Adam Scott playing a new driver and putter

Posted at 9:24 AM by David Dusek

MARANA, Ariz. -- Adam Scott has made two subtle adjustments to his set makeup that he hopes will give him an edge this week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

The 28-year-old Australian has decided to switch from Titleist's 909D2 driver to the company's 909D3 (9.5°). According to Scott, the reason for the change has to do with spin and control.

"I'm using the new Pro V1 (2009)," he told me outside the locker room Monday at the Ritz-Carlton Course at Dove Mountain. "I'm just finding with the D2 that I'm turning it over a little too easily."

Scott told me that the 909D2, like the driver he used for most of 2008, Titleist's 905R, has a slight draw bias. With the previous version of the Pro V1 ball, it wasn't a problem. But the new Pro V1 spins a little more off the tee for Scott. "With a little bit softer golf ball, a little bit spinnier golf ball, I should say, it's easier to turn it over."

That means Scott was drawing the ball too much and too often with the D2 driver. With the D3, Scott started producing the ball flight he wants to see more easily. (To learn more about the 909 driver series, click here.)

Adamscottcameronputter1The other change for Scott is his putter. He has recently switched from a Newport-style blade putter to a mallet.

"When I was a kid, I putted with a mallet until I was about 17," he said. "I was just sitting at home this winter and I took a mallet back down to the putting green and really liked it. I decided that I had to call Scotty [Cameron] and have him make me something like it. He whipped one up in about a week!"

The putter is based on a design that Cameron made from a collector's convention. On his Web site, he calls the design a Tour SSS Coupe. It features a double bend shaft and is designed to be swung on an arc like a blade putter. Along the crown there are eight white lines and one red line to help Scott take dead aim at his target. Click on the photo for a better look.

"I mean, the alignment aid is probably the biggest thing," Scott says. "It's so easy to line up. It's like it just swings itself, which is a nice feeling. I don't have to do anything with the shoulders and hands."

At the only PGA Tour event where Scott has used the putter, the Sony Open, he finished tied for second and averaged only 27 putts per round.

When Working with PGA Tour Pros, the Answer is Always Yes

Posted at 9:19 AM by David Dusek

Titleist_van MARANA, Ariz. -- Some players are picky about their equipment, but others are a little nuts. Case in point, Ross Fisher.

The 29-year-old Englishman, who is currently ranked No. 38 in the world, asked to have his clubs re-gripped Monday morning. Peter Bezck, working in Titleist's tour van, removed the old grips without touching the layers of tape underneath. He then put new grips on that were identical to the old ones and sent them back to Fisher

However, around lunch time, Fisher's caddie shook his head as he approached Bezck and the Titleist tour van. Fisher felt the grips were now too big, even though none of the three wraps of tape under his grips had been touched.

To make the grips  feel small, Bezck had to cut the fresh grips off, use a blowtorch to soften the old tape and then scrape it off with a box cutter. He carefully applied a layer of masking tape, and then a layer of double-sided tape before sliding another new set of grips into place.

As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. Even if he's a little crazy.

February 22, 2009

Phil Micklelson's Northern Trust Open Winning Clubs

Posted at 10:59 PM by David Dusek

Philmickelsoncallawaydiablo When Phil Mickelson was having trouble Sunday at Riviera, he reached for a club he recently added to his bag for help — the Callaway Big Bertha Diablo 3-wood.

"I started hitting 3-woods on the back on 12 to just get on the fairway," he said. "And I hit two of the best drives that I've hit all week on 15 and 17."

The Diablo features a 100% stainless steel clubhead that comes with either a draw or bias or neutral face.

Here is a complete list of the clubs Phil had in his bag to win his second-consecutive Northern Trust Open.

Driver:                      Callaway FT-9 (7.5°) Tour hosel
Fairway woods:        Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°)
Irons:                        Callaway X Forged (3-4), Callaway X Proto (5-9)
Wedges:                   Callaway X Tour Forged (52°, 56°, 60°, 64°)
Putter:                      Odyssey White Hot XG #9 Blade
Ball:                          Callaway Tour ix

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Tiger will come back with a new driver

Posted at 7:57 PM by David Dusek

Nikesqdymodriver_600 Tucson, Ariz. — Tiger Woods will be using a new driver this week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. The world's No. 1 player, and the event's top seed, will be swinging a Nike SQ Dymo (8.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 83x shaft. Tiger won the 2008 U.S. Open using a Nike SasQuatch Tour (7.5°) with the same shaft.

Woods' Dymo does not feature Nike's new STR8-Fit technology that allows the face angle, loft and lie angle of the club to be adjusted. (Read more about the Dymo here).

As for his irons, Woods will be using a new set of Nike's Victory Red Forged Blades. They are based on the clubs that had previously been made for Tiger.

Instead of switching to Nike's new Tour ball, for now, Woods will continue to use the Nike One Platinum ball.

February 19, 2009

Goosen using a belly putter to regain his touch

Posted at 11:30 AM by David Dusek

After winning the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on the fastest, trickiest greens in recent memory, Retief Goosen's reputation as a great putter seemed permanently cemented. His 24-putt performance in the final round, which included 11 one-putt greens, was nothing short of miraculous.

Goosen won at Shinnecock Hills using a Yes! Tracy putter, a cavity back, heel-toe-weighted blade made from 304 stainless steel that is face balanced and features Yes!'s unique grooves in the sweet spot.
But when it comes to the Dark Art of Putting, nothing is forever. In recent months, Goosen has been searching for a magic wand that will help him find the touch that earned him two majors and the No. 4 spot in the world rankings.

Last November he won the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia using an Odyssey 2- Ball Blade putter, but by early January it was gone and Goosen had switched to what appeared in photos to be the new TaylorMade Lambeau. That marriage didn't last long either, and on Tuesday of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, the Goose did what years before would have seemed unimaginable—he switched to a belly putter.

Retiefgoosenbellyputter_600x450The belly putter Goosen is using is an extended-length Yes! Tracy with a healthy amount of lead tape running along the length of the sole. Click on the image to get a better look.

"The last couple of years, I've just putted bad," he said after shooting 64 at Pebble Beach last week. "I had a week off back in London, I was just fooling around in the garage there for putters and tried a few long putters. And then I thought I would sort of give it a try. It can't get any worse, I think, so I might as well try it."

Goosen said he struggled at Torrey Pines to find the right pace on long putts, but on short putts, he felt he made some good strokes. "If you can get some sort of confidence going again, just seeing yourself making some putts can help," he said.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

February 16, 2009

Dustin Johnson's Pebble Beach winning clubs

Posted at 11:25 AM by David Dusek

DustinjohnsongolfclubsHere is a complete list of the clubs Dustin Johnson used to win the rain-shortened AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Driver:             TaylorMade Burner ('09)  (10.5°)
3-wood:           TaylorMade V Steel (16.5°)
Hybrid:            TaylorMade Rescue TP (21°)
Irons:               TaylorMade Tour Preferred (3-9); rac MB (PW)
Wedges:          TaylorMade rac (54°), Titleist Vokey Spin Milled (60°)
Putter:             Scotty Cameron by Titleist 303 GSS
Ball:                 TaylorMade TP Red LDP

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
 

February 11, 2009

Nike may lay off up to 4% of its workforce

Posted at 4:12 PM by David Dusek

Nikelogo Nike has just announced that as a part of its restructuring and cost-reducing plans, the Beaverton, Oreg.-based company may eliminate up to 1,400 people (4%) of its 35,000-person workforce.

“In light of the current economic climate, it is more essential than ever to sharpen our focus on the consumer to maximize opportunities for product innovation and brand management in the marketplace," Mark Parker, Nike's president and CEO said in a media release. "The decision to reduce our workforce is a difficult one, but it will put our business in the strongest position possible to continue to deliver long-term profitability and growth.”

The release explained that Nike plans to complete its organizational review by the end of its current fiscal year (May 31). Until that time, the exact number of job losses, and segments of the company that will be affected, is not known.

Titleist releases Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi putters

Posted at 12:34 PM by David Dusek

With the release of the Titleist by Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi mallet putters, Cameron is venturing back in the large mallet category. Best known for making heel-toe weighted blade putters, in a conversation I had recently with Cameron, he said the Kombi putters are a refinement of what he learned from a previously released mallet, 2003's Futura.

TitleistkombiputteraddressAccording to Cameron, "The goal was to utilize a weight system like Futura's, but make it more pleasing to the eye." To do that, the Kombi starts as a solid piece of 6061 aircraft aluminum and is then milled into shape.

But why not make the Kombi out of stainless steel, the material of choice for many of his other putters? "I couldn't make a body like this out of stainless steel. It would weigh something like 1,000 grams," he explained.

The red T alignment aid is designed to focus your eyes on the top line — instead of the large back flange — and is designed to help golfers improve accuracy. The top line itself, the area where the shaft goes into the head, is also thicker to help create a more pleasing sound. Cameron says that thin faces designed into aluminum mallet putters create hollow sounds at impact that most golfers don't like.

The standard length Kombi putters, available in 33-, 34- and 35-inch models, have weights in both the heel and the toe area, as well as a weight in the back.

"A lot of people in years past would take a 35-inch putter, cut the shaft, and call it a 33-inch putter but the head weight was too light. That would affect rhythm and timing," Cameron says. "I took the one shell and put in the proper weights, relative to the length."

The Kombi will also be available in a 50-inch model with a 500g. head and a 43-inch belly version with a 400g. head.
Titleistkombiputtersole
It's interesting to note that the standard models have a slightly smaller head than the extended-length versions. "The big head is great-looking on the end of a long shaft," Cameron says, "but it looks a little too big on the end of the standard-length putter."

As large as this mallet putter is, like other classic Cameron designs, the Kombi is designed for players who prefer an inside-square-inside putting stroke. "A lot of mallets are designed to be swung straight back and straight through and are face balanced," Cameron says. "This is a toe-down balanced putter, so this is going to help to create an arched back stroke instead of one square to the target line."

The Kombi putters will retail for $325, but look for pro shops to sell them for about $299 when they become available on April 1.

February 09, 2009

Reader Question: Does Perry really play game-improvement clubs?

Posted at 5:41 PM by David Dusek

Kennyperrygolfclubs_450x600 Sean, a Shop blog reader, recently wrote:

"There is no way Perry uses the R7s, those are for mid handicappers.  He has got to play the R7 TPs.  Anyone able to confirm this?"

As surprising as it might seem, Kenny Perry does use TaylorMade's standard r7 irons. The r7 TP irons have a small "TP" logo near the toe; Perry's clubs do not have it. Click on the photo to enlarged it and get a better look. I magnified one club to give you a close-up look.

In GOLF Magazine's 2007 ClubTest, comments about the r7 irons included:

Superior distance and distance control; minimizes mistakes; hit it anywhere on face and expect a reasonable result; delivers subtle information to hands; could use more feedback on good and bad shots; acceptable playability.

Reader Question: David Toms returns to Cleveland Golf

Posted at 3:13 PM by David Dusek

Davidtoms A reader of the Shop Blog recently asked:

When and why did David Toms switch back to endorsing Cleveland? I looked on the TaylorMade Web site, and it still has a photo of Toms as a Staff Member. -- Jose

Toms, winner of the 2001 PGA Championship, battled injuries in 2008 and had just one top-10 finish, a tie for eighth at the Viking Classic played over the same week as the Ryder Cup.

In January, Cleveland Golf sent a press release saying:

"Cleveland Golf/Srixon is pleased to announce that PGA Tour professional David Toms has re-signed with the company after a two year hiatus and will once again be carrying Cleveland clubs in his bag. Toms, who signed a multi-year contract with Cleveland Golf/Srixon, will be wearing a Cleveland hat, carrying a Cleveland bag and playing Cleveland woods, irons and wedges.

"I'm excited to be back with Cleveland and involved with the company I've had so much success with in the past," said Toms. "Eleven of my 12 wins were achieved when I was playing with Cleveland equipment and now that I'm back, I hope to add to that number in the future."

"We're thrilled to have David back representing Cleveland Golf," said Greg Hopkins, President/CEO of Cleveland Golf/Srixon. "When a player has the success that David has had using our equipment, it brings to mind that old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We all believe that David is fixed on having a big year in 2009."

According to Cleveland, here are the clubs Toms is currently using:
Driver:                       Cleveland Launcher (10.5°)
Fairway woods:       Cleveland Hibore XLS (15°, 19°)
Hybrid:                      Cleveland Launcher Hybrid 3i
Irons:                        Cleveland G7 Tour (4-9)
Wedges:                   Cleveland CG14 (48°, 56°, 60°)
Putter:                       Never Compromise GM2 Exchange #4
Ball:                           Titleist Pro V1

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

February 08, 2009

Nick Watney's Buick Invitational Winning Clubs

Posted at 10:47 PM by David Dusek

NickwatneytitleistputterNick Watney used a prototype Titleist by Scotty Cameron putter to sink his birdie putt on 18 to win the 2009 Buick Invitational. It has a Newport-style head, a plumber's neck and dark finish with white graphics. There are no visible weight screws, face inserts or out-of-the-ordinary alignment aids on the head. For a better look, click on the image, and check back with The Shop for more information about this new putter.

According to Titleist, here is a complete list of the clubs Nick Watney used at Torrey Pines.

Driver:                    Titleist  909D2 (10.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 83 shaft
Fairway wood:      Titleist 909F2 (15.5°) with Fujikura ZCOM Pro95 for Titleist shaft
Hybrid:                   Titleist 909H (21°) with Proforce V2 hybrid 100 shaft
Irons:                      Titleist AP2 (3-9)
Wedges:                Titleist Vokey Design 200 Series (48°), Spin Milled (56°), Special "T" Grind (60°)
Putter:                    Titleist by Scotty Cameron 009 prototype
Ball:                        Titleist Pro V1x (2009)

For more winners and their winning clubs, click here.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

February 05, 2009

Reader Question: What ever happened to the Futura?

Posted at 5:46 PM by David Dusek

Scottycameronfutura Chuck, a Shop Blog reader, posted a question asking about a putter that made waves when it was first spotted on the PGA Tour:

Does anyone use the Scotty Cameron original Futura or one of the newer Futura mallets? I remember when Phil Mickleson used the original and he seemed to play well with it. Next thing you knew, it disappeared.

I recently spoke with Scotty Cameron and the topic of the Futura came up. Cameron says he never intended to let the Futura outside his studio, but when Phil Mickelson saw it there and tried it, he loved the putter so much he put it into his bag.

Cameron claims the putter was made as an experiment to learn more about the effects of extreme perimeter weighting and design. But in 2003 it was made available to the public.

TompernicecameronfuturaLike Mickelson, some players love the odd-looking Futura. Others likened to a "potato masher on a stick." 

"There were a lot of negative things said about the Futura," Cameron recalled. "The sound was a little hollow — some people liked it and some people didn't. I wanted it to be cushier, softer and give more control. It looked bizarre with that weight, but it did a lot of good things."

According to Titleist, there are only a few Futuras still in use. On the PGA Tour Tom Pernice, Jr. (right), Colt Knost, Rick Price and Jason Duffner each use one. On the Champions Tour, the Futura is the putter of choice for Scott Hoch and Joey Sindelar.

(Pernice photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)




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