DRIVER: TaylorMade R11 (9.0°) with a Matrix OZIK XCON F6M2 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping i15 (15.5°) with an ACCRA S3 Dymatch 85 shaft
HYBRID: TaylorMade Rescue TP (19°) with a Graphite Design Tour Ad UT 85 shaft
IRONS: Miura CB 501 (3-PW) with KBS Tour shafts
WEDGES: Miura Wedge Series (54°), Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (59°) with KBS Tour shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot #2
BALL: Titleist Pro V1
Category: 2011 Players
Cobra Golf is not in the putter business, but by the look of things that could change sometime in the future.
Before the start of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Ian Poulter switched from a heel-toe weighted Rife Antigua putter to a Scotty Cameron Newport putter. But shortly after that he switched again, to a custom putter made for him by Cobra, the company that makes his woods and irons.
According to a Cobra tour rep, the company made Poulter four different heads and this the one, which he has been using in tournament play, was his favorite. But the testing continues; at TPC Sawgrass, Cobra was working on a putter with a slightly deeper face than the one you see in the photos below.
DRIVER: Titleist 910D3 (10.5°) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board 83 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 910F (15°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 93 shafts
HYBRID: Titleist 910H (21°) with an Aldila Voodoo XVS9 shaft
IRONS: Titleist AP2 (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (54°), TVD (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
One Rickie, wearing an all-pink ensemble trimmed in neon-green, made teenage girls lining the fairways squeal things like, "I love your outfit Rickie. You're so cute!"
The other Rickie, the golfer who proved his mettle in Walker Cup matches as an amateur and last fall in the Ryder Cup, said he's going to have to hit more fairways this week. Stray drives have led to fewer greens in regulation, which in turn makes it harder to make birdies. It’s a formula that's about as basic as it gets.
When it comes to golf equipment, Fowler's bag is filled with clubs that make both Rickies smile.
"This is my second set of [Titleist] 710 MBs," he said walking down the 10th fairway Wednesday. "I do like to put in the orange paint fill and kind of splash 'em up a little bit. Make 'em different. I started doing that in high school and at Oklahoma State. Some of the guys would do it for fun when we had a little bit of free time."
Fowler also has orange paint fill accents on his wedges and hybrids. He has also used custom-painted Mitsubishi Diamana White Board driver shafts; a few even had Oklahoma State Cowboy mascots embossed near the handle.
But the clubs themselves, and his set makeup, are utilitarian by design. Fowler wants the versatility to play any shot on any course.
"If I'm going to the British Open I don't want to have to change clubs around," he said. "I don't want to change my driver by a degree if it's windy or if I want to hit a lower ball so it will run. You know, I just kinda want to work the ball and be able to do more than one thing with one club."
Fowler said his driver, an 8.5° Titleist 910D3 set to the D1 position, was the most challenging club to get just right. He played a 909D3 for more than two years, and tinkered with a 910 when they were first brought to the PGA Tour last summer, but developing confidence in the club simply took time.
"I played a few 910D2 heads last year, but I've been in the 910D3 since last November," he said. "I messed around with some 7.5° heads and then at the Honda [in March] I went to an 8.5° head."
Fowler said that with the 7.5° head he missed too many shots to the right and that his drives flew too low. "By going with an 8.5° I was able to spin the ball a little more and shots seemed to hold their flight a little bit better. I can also work it a little bit more, whereas with the 7.5°, if I wanted to hit a ball up in the air I had to really help it up."
If the two Rickies can get cozy with that driver, Fowler could contend here at The Players and create a potent blend substance and style.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — There's no way 175 players on the PGA Tour have a better iron game than Sean O'Hair. But according to the computers that track greens in regulation, so far this season there are.
For O'Hair, a 27-year-old with more than $14 million in earnings over the past five seasons as one of the best ballstrikers around, that's unacceptable.
"New Orleans was my fifth missed cut in a row," he said leaving the practice area. "So I just said to myself that there needs to be a change."
Tweaking his swing is part of that change, but another major part is a new set of irons. This week at The Players, O'Hair will be using TaylorMade's Forged MB blades.
"Over the last couple of years, because of the groove issue, I've had a difficult time trying to find irons that will flight the ball the way that I like," O'Hair said. He said that he's not too concerned with how the new grooves effect his shots out of the rough because like other pros, he's learned to handle flier lies. It's the shots from the short grass that have given O'Hair headaches.
"Out of the fairway, at least for me, I'm noticing that I am not getting the same flight every time," he said. "I'm looking for a penetrating flight; I don't like my irons to go super-high and I don't want them to come out so low that I cannot stop among the greens."
O'Hair has always played TaylorMade irons that feature a small cavity back or perimeter weighting system. He previously played TaylorMade's Tour Preferred irons, which have weight notches in the heel and toe. Earlier this year he tried new Forged CB irons, but they sent shots too high, especially with the short irons. The Forged MB irons offer plenty of feel and predictability, and a low, piercing flight.
"I'm looking for a certain miss," O'Hair said. "I always want my miss to be on the right. I may over-cut it or push it a bit, but when my misses start landing 10 or 15 yards short then I've got an issue. But if they're only three or four yards off on a missed shot, then I know these are the irons for me. That's what I've seen with the MBs, which I have not seen for two years."
TPC Sawgrass is a tough place to bring a new set of irons and a work-in-progress swing, but O'Hair seems encouraged by what he was able to achieve while taking last week off. Don't be surprised if he proves the green-tracking computer wrong.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Last year Ping released its first forged iron, the Anser. The new Anser wedges look like an extension of those irons, and they have some features that should make them appealing to mid- and low-handicap players.
"It's a forged wedge and the hosel got a little bit longer," says Matt Rollins, one of Ping's PGA Tour representatives. "Therefore, we decided to add a tungsten piece out on the toe to elongate the sweet spot."
In the photo on the right, the tungsten is the slightly-darker metal surrounding the 60.
Rollins also says that the ball flight of the Anser wedges, which are made from a soft 8620 stainless steel, is slightly flatter and lower than some of Ping's other wedges. "I'm not saying that's wrong, or better, or worse… it's just different," Rollins said.
The biggest difference between the Anser wedges and the other wedges in Ping's lineup (Tour-S, Tour-S Rustique, Tour-W TS) is that there is no back weight, according to Rollins. Ping has traditionally used that back weight to help adjust the club's swing weight. With the Anser, club builders can insert small weights inside the hosel to adjust for a player's desired shaft weight or shaft length.
While the Anser lacks the weight badge, it does feature a stabilization bar that runs diagonally across the cavity in the toe section. "We had a couple of people in our testing who said it was a little off when they hit it intentionally out on the toe," Rollins says. By adding just a little more mass in that area, Ping hopes to enhance feel on flop shots and delicate pitches.
When the Anser wedges are released later this summer, look for 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60° options. Thanks to a notch that Ping designs into the hosels of all its wedges and irons, fitters can easily bend the clubs into the exact loft you want. In fact, Hunter Mahan, who put the Anser wedges into play last week at Quail Hollow, had his 56° bent to 53°.
"You just have to remember that for every degree that you bend the club, you take a degree of bounce either on or off," Rollins says. "There's a one-to-one ratio."
Ping does not have a suggested retail price for the clubs yet.
I've played Nike clubs for the last seven years, since I was in school at Texas, so I'm very comfortable with them. That made the transition [to the pro game] easier for me. I can't see switching. If you've won with the clubs, why swtich? I know some people swich after they win, but some people are crazy.
The other thing I don't plan to do is swtich my caddie, Luis Sira. He's from Venezuela too. He came to the U.S. when he was 17 or 18 to go to school. He played baseball for a while; then someone introduced him to golf, and he started caddying. He's been on the tour for 25 years and has caddied for some good players. He worked with Esteban Toledo for six years and Jose Coceres for a couple of years. This is our second year together. It's been a great combination. We have a lot of fun.—Jhonattan Vegas
DRIVER: Nike VR Pro (8.5°) with a nVentix Nunchuck X shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike VR Pro (15°, 19°) with a nVentix Nunchuck X shafts
IRONS: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X shafts
WEDGES: Nike VR Forged (53°, 59°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Studio Stainless Newport
BALL: Nike 20XI-x
"I've had it in my bag since the first tournament of the year. My caddie and I keep it as a way of carrying around our Venezuelan roots. It's something fun to have just in case we need to use it."
"A handicapped kid in Argentina gave me this when I was playing in the Argentina Open in December. He told me that if I put this in my bag, I good things would happen, and I ended up winning the tournament. I've had it in my bag ever since."