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Category: Gear Notes


June 14, 2012

My Bag: Michael Thompson at the 2012 U.S. Open

Posted at 8:19 PM by David Dusek

 

Michael-Thompson-Thursday
Michael Thompson (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

 

DRIVER: Ping i20 (9.5°) with a Grafolloy ProLaunch Red S shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Akira M215 (15°) with a Grafolloy ProLaunch Red shaft
IRONS: Ping S56 (2-9) with True Temper X100 shafts
WEDGES: Ping Tour-S (47°), Anser Forged (52°, 58°) with True Temper X100 shafts
PUTTER: Ping Anser 4
BALL: Titleist Pro V1

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Photos: See more pros' bags at Olympic

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook | Google+

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2010

Gear Notes: 2010 Masters

Posted at 1:47 PM by David Dusek

Phil-Mickelson-Callaway-Driver_450x600 Callaway
Phil Mickelson cracked the crown of his Callaway FT-9 Tour Authentic driver at the Shell Houston Open. (A nearly identical driver, the FT Tour, is now available to the public.) Like a patient in critical need of an organ transplant, the club was flown to San Diego on Easter Sunday, where it was met at the airport by the head of Callaway's R&D team, Dr. Alan Hocknell.

According to Callaway, the company, "performed an 'unprecedented repair,' removing the body from the clubface while never taking off the shaft in order to ensure that the loft and lie remained secure."

Hocknell said, “We decided to remove the carbon composite body from the face, and we’ve never done that before, so everyone was a bit nervous. But through a lot of teamwork, we had a new body and weights installed by 1:30 p.m. on Monday."

Meanwhile, back in Augusta, Mickelson texted Hocknell: "How bad is it, Doc? Is she gonna make it?"

Needless to say, the patient made a full recovery, was flown back cross-country, and helped Mickelson win his third green jacket. For the week, Phil hit 60% of the fairways and averaged 297 yards per drive.

YE-Yang-TaylorMade-Putter TaylorMade
Y.E. Yang, winner of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine, pulled his Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter out of his bag before the start of the Masters and used a TaylorMade Monza Spider Vicino (right) during the championship. Yang took 115 putts at Augusta and averaged an impressive 1.6 putts per green in regulation.

Mike Weir, Henrik Stenson and John Rollins all put new TaylorMade Burner SuperFast drivers in the bag for the first time at the Masters. Sergio Garcia became the first player to put TaylorMade's yet-to-be-released R9 SuperDeep driver into play. He hit 68% of the fairways for the week and averaged 285 yards per drive.

Titleist
Adam Scott, whose tie for 18th marks his best performance at Augusta since 2002, had been playing a Titleist 909 D2 driver this season. But in order to get more roll on the firm fairways at Augusta National, the Australian decided to play a lower-flying 909 D3 driver instead.

Matteo Manassero, who at age 16 was the youngest player to ever compete in a Masters, also finished as the tournament's low amateur with a final score of four over par. Manassero, who has a bag filled with Titleist clubs, swapped out his AP2 3-iron in favor of a higher-flying hybrid club, a Titleist 909H (21°), so he could stop the ball more quickly on Augusta's firm greens. The young Italian star plans on turning professional in less than three weeks, so look for him to become a Titleist staff player soon.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey, TaylorMade, and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

(Photos by Mickelson: ; Yang:John Biever/SI, insert Harry How/Getty Images)

March 02, 2010

Gear Notes: Trevor Immelman's New Nike Driver, Hunter Mahan's Day at Ping, and TaylorMade's Vecino Spider Putter

Posted at 3:35 PM by David Dusek

Callaway/Odyssey
Mathew Goggin, who tied for fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, had a great week on the greens. Last season, Goggin averaged 29.53 putts per round, ranking him 142nd on the PGA Tour. But last week at TPC Scottsdale, using a new Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball Blade putter for the first time, the Aussie was more than one stroke better, needing just 28.3.

Adding those four strokes to Goggin's final score would have dropped him into a tie for 24th and cost him more than $200,000 in prize money.

Nike
Trevor Immelman made his 2010 debut last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and he did it with a new driver. Immelman, who won the 2008 Masters using a Nike SQ Dymo STR8-Fit prototype driver, played at TPC Scottsdale with a new SQ Machspeed STR8-Fit.

Hunter Mahan Ping Man Ping
Hunter Mahan went to Ping's factory in Phoenix last Tuesday to meet with the company's engineers, club builders and tour department. To say thanks for all the work they have done for him, Mahan even brought lunch for 30 people.

While at Ping's headquarters, Mahan worked with a master club builder and tour rep to improve the performance of a new EYE2 lob wedge that he started using during the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Unlike the EYE2 lob wedge he'd previously been using, Mahan's new wedge has grooves that conform to the new USGA standards. He felt the ball was rolling up the face too much on full shots, so material was welded to the sole and 3° of bounce were added to the club. The result for Mahan was more control and a flatter trajectory while keeping the 59° of loft.

On Sunday, en route to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mahan had to overcome a problem with his Ping Rapture V2 driver.

"My gamer had a little crack in it on 2," he said Sunday evening. After talking with officials and confirming that he could take the club out of play and replace it with a new driver, Mahan's girlfriend, Kandi Harris, ran back to his car and got his back-up.

Monza_Spider_Vicino"Luckily the rules staff ran her out to the car and she got it and I got it before the next tee shot, which was nice, because the next hole is a par 5," he said. "I really didn't want to hit a 3-wood off the par 5."

TaylorMade
The new Vecino Spider (right) arrived on tour last week at TPC Scottsdale. Both Martin Laird and Joe Ogilvie immediately put the new putter in the bag, and according to the company, J.B. Holmes, Kenny Perry and Scott McCarron all requested that Vecino Spider putters be made to their specifications for testing.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey, Nike, Ping and TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

February 25, 2010

Gear Notes: Padraig Harrington's New Putter, Retief Goosen's New Driver, Robert Karlsson Bending Irons

Posted at 12:38 PM by David Dusek

Padraig Harrington Odyssey Putter Odyssey
Ireland's Padraig Harrington won three major championships using an Odyssey 2-Ball Blade putter, but he has switched to Odyssey's yet-to-be-released Odyssey Backstryke 2-Ball (right).

What's unique about the Backstryke 2-Ball? The shaft goes from the golfer's hands straight to the center of the putter, then bends into the back of the head. This puts not only the face but nearly the entire putter in front of the point where the shaft enters the head. (Get it? Back-strike.)

According to Odyssey reps, Harrington said, "It goes right where I am aiming it." When the rep started describing the putter's design, Harrington stopped him and said, "I don't want to know anything about it. All I know is that the ball goes right where I am aiming, and that is good for you."

TaylorMade
Retief Goosen had been using a TaylorMade r7 SuperQuad driver for about four years before he recently made a switch. While he has tried different versions of the company's R9 driver, he told me, "Because I have long arms, I'm struggling to get one that can be made flat enough for me."

Retief Goosen TaylorMade Driver While visiting TaylorMade's truck two weeks ago at Pebble Beach, Goosen was shown the new Burner SuperFast driver. Intrigued, the South African took a few and started practicing. According to TaylorMade, Goosen doesn't want a driver that misses left, so after every left-side miss, a TaylorMade rep manually bent and adjusted the face, loft and lie angle of the driver. Unlike TaylorMade's R9 family of drivers, the Burner SuperFast does not have movable weights or a head that can be unscrewed and re-attached using a torque wrench.

By the time Goosen walked away with his new driver, it had been bent 4° flatter than standard. At the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he added a 15° TaylorMade SuperFast 3-wood and also and switched to a TaylorMade Rossa Spider belly putter as well.

Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia (who recently switched to a TaylorMade R9 SuperTri driver), spent about an hour grinding the bottom of his new TaylorMade TP wedges with xFT in the company's tour van. The 54° and 58° clubs feature TaylorMade's removable face plate design, so Garcia will not have to repeat the exercise when the grooves on the clubs start to dull.

Titleist
In Tucson, both Rory McIlroy and Geoff Ogilvy pulled 60° Titleist Vokey Spin Milled wedges out of their bags and replaced them with 58° wedges. Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who won the European Tour's Qatar Masters on Feb. 2, took things even further.

According to a Titleist rep, Karlsson had been using a 47° pitching wedge, a 50° gap wedge, a 55° sand wedge and a 60° lob wedge. He ditched the 50°, 55° and 60° clubs in favor of a 53° and 58° wedge and a 21° 3-iron. Karlsson then had Titleist reps weaken the lofts in his MB irons by 1° so he would not have any gaps in his set.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey, TaylorMade, and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

(Photos: Harrington, Stuart Franklin/Getty Images; Goosen, David Dusek)

February 08, 2010

Gear Notes: Anthony Kim's Nike Putter, Phil Mickelson's Callaway Irons, Steve Stricker's Titleist Hybrid

Posted at 3:47 PM by David Dusek

Phil Mickelson Callaway Iron copy Callaway

Phil Mickelson decided not to go with the Ping Eye2 wedge at Riveria, but he did carry a Callaway Tour Authentic X Forged 4-iron instead of one of his prototype hybrid clubs. Mickelson uses Callaway's X-Proto irons with Project X shafts. The main difference between the two irons is the X Forged has perimeter weighting that helps get the ball airborne more easily while the X-Proto is a muscleback blade that allows players to shape shots more easily.

Nike
When Anthony Kim had his breakout season in 2008, he did it using 12 Nike clubs. The two non-Nike sticks were an Adams hybrid and a customized Scotty Cameron putter that said "Boomer Sooner" on the flange as a nod to Kim's alma mater, Oklahoma.

This season, Kim is playing 14 Nike clubs. The hybrid club was replaced by a Nike SQ Dymo fairway wood, and Kim is now playing a new Nike Method 001 putter.

TaylorMade
Paul Goydos added new TaylorMade TP wedges with xFT to his bag at Riviera, but not until they were extensively modified.

According to the company, his 54° and 60° wedges were bent in two areas of the hosel to create offset. An e-mail from TaylorMade said, "We bend it extremely strong at the lowest point of the hosel—like 6°. Basically as much as we can without damaging or ruining the look of the hosel. Then we go to the highest point of the hosel and bend it back to its original loft. The result is a wedge that has a lot of offset."

TaylorMade reps say the wedges with added offset look similar to Ping Eye2s in the playing position and help Goydos get under the ball.   
 
TaylorMade also reports that Rory Sabbatini added a 19° TP Rescue with FCT to his bag at Riviera. The South African also switched to TaylorMade's new 10.5° Burner SuperFast driver.

Titleist
Steve Stricker won the soggy Northern Trust Open at Riviera on Sunday with a slightly different set makeup. While the game's new No. 2 player still used a set of Titleist 755 irons and his 19° Titleist 909H hybrid club, he took out the 3-iron from his set and put in another hybrid, a 21° Titleist 909H with a UST Mamiya ProForce V2 shaft.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway, Nike, TaylorMade and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter


February 02, 2010

Gear Notes: Michael Sim's Titleist Hybrid, TaylorMade's New Drivers, Ping's Irons and Callaway's New Tour i(z) Ball

Posted at 10:14 AM by David Dusek

Michel-Sim-Torrey-Pines-Titleist_600 Titleist
Michael Sim (right), who in 2009 won the Nationwide Tour money title and Player of the Year award, as well as a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour, spent some time at the Acushnet Test Facility before the start of last week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

According to Titleist's Blog, Sim felt that the distance gap between his AP2 9-iron and his pitching wedge was too large, so he sought the help of some Titleist fitters. By switching from a 47° Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C to a club with 48°, the gap shrank from 18 yards to 12 yards.

Sim also told fitters that while his 695CB 2-iron worked well on the sandy, dry courses in his homeland of Australia, PGA Tour courses demanded shots that fly higher and stop quickly. After trying various hybrids, he put a prototype 503i with a Project X 6.5 shaft into his bag and took out the 2-iron.

Sim also asked Titleist reps to look at his putting stroke using the company's high speed cameras at the Scotty Cameron putting studio. "It wasn’t as good as what it was last year when I went in there," he told Titleist. "But we managed to correct that in probably 20 minutes."

Sim finished tied for second at Torrey Pines. Here is a complete list of his clubs:
DRIVER: Titleist 905R (8.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana White 83 shaft

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 909F2 (13.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 93 shaft

HYBRID: Titleist 503i with True Temper Project X shafts

IRONS: Titleist AP2 (3-9) with True Temper Project X shafts

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C (48°, 54°, 60°) with True Temper Project X shafts

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport Squareback
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

TaylorMade
You've had a chance to read all about TaylorMade's newest drivers, the R9 SuperTri and the Burner SuperFast. Last week at Torrey Pines, PGA Tour pros had their first chance to hit the clubs on the range. The video below, provided by TaylorMade, shows some of their reactions:

Ping
There has been a lot of talk about Ping Eye2 wedges recently, especially after John Daly and Phil Mickelson used the venerable clubs in PGA Tour events. The grooves on the Eye2 wedges would be non-conforming with the USGA's new rules, except they were grandfathered to be legal in perpetuity thanks to a lawsuit Ping won 20 years ago. However, Ping cannot make more Eye2 irons and wedges with the old grooves, but on eBay the clubs are selling like hotcakes.

KJ Choi Ping Irons What was interesting to see at the Farmers Insurance Open was that there were 24 sets of Ping irons in play. Twelve sets were used by Ping staff players, and 12 were used by players NOT on Ping's staff, including K.J. Choi (right) who used a set of the company's new G15 irons. Choi, who is no longer a Nike staff player, also played with a TaylorMade r7 Limited driver.

Callaway
According to the company, Spain’s Alvaro Quiros switched to Callaway's new Tour i(z) ball at last week's European Tour event in Qatar, where he finished second behind Robert Karrlson. Callaway officials pointed out that the switch may have helped the longest hitter in Europe get a touch longer off the tee. Quiros averaged  317 yards per drive at this year's Qatar Masters; at the same event last season, he averaged 314 yards on his way to victory.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

(Photos: Sim/Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photos; Choi/Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

January 26, 2010

Gear Notes: Rory McIlroy's New Titleist Irons, Nike VR Hybrids and Martin Kaymer's Winning TaylorMade Clubs

Posted at 9:38 PM by David Dusek

Rory McIlroy Titleist Irons Titleist
Rory McIlroy, who finished third last week in Abu Dhabi, has switched from playing Titleist ZB muscle back blades to the company's new MB irons. McIlroy is carrying a 3- through 9-iron, 1 upright, with True Temper Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts. Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Karlsson have also recently switched to the new clubs.

Nike
David Duval and Jamie Lovemark both experimented with an 18° Nike Victory Red Hybrid before the start of the rain-soaked Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

Nike also reports that Sweden's Carl Pettersson had tour reps make him a Victory Red Split Cavity 4- and 5-iron last week. Pettersson, who plays Victory Red Forged Blades (5-PW), joins a group of several other Nike staff players who have created combo sets using various Nike clubs.

Paul Casey — Pro Combo OS (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)
Stewart Cink — Pro Combo OS (2, 4), Victory Red Split Cavity (5-PW)
Justin Leonard — Pro Combo Tungsten (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)
Pablo MartinVictory Red Full Cavity (3-7) and Nike Forged Blades (8-PW)
Anthony KimVictory Red Full Cavity (3), Nike Forged Blades (4-PW)

Martin Kaymer TaylorMade Equipment TaylorMade
Martin Kaymer (right) won last week's European Tour event in Abu Dhabi. The win, which moved the German to a career-high sixth position in the world rankings, was his first using TaylorMade clubs. Kaymer had previously played Titleist equipment.

Kaymer played a TaylorMade R9 460 driver (8.5°) with a Ping prototype 824-X shaft, an R9 3-wood (13°) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 73 X shaft and a Burner TP 5-wood (17.5) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 83 X shaft. He also played TaylorMade's RAC TP irons (3-9) and wedges (54°, 58°) and the company's Penta ball. Kaymer's putter was a Ping Karsten Series Anser 2.

At Torrey Pines this week, TaylorMade will be debuting the newest Kia Ma putters. According to the company, the new putters will have weight ports that will allow for easy and quick customization.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Nike, Titleist, and TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

(Photos: McIlroy, Karim Sahib/Getty Images; Kaymer, David Cannon/Getty Images)

January 19, 2010

Gear Notes: Titleist's Tour-Only Pro V1 Balls, Ernie Els' New Driver, Retief Goosen's New Grooves

Posted at 12:19 PM by David Dusek

Titleist
Cameron Morfit, a senior writer for Golf Magazine, spoke with a few golfers at the Sony Open and heard about new Titleist Pro V1 golf balls some players were using.

Since last August, Titleist has made two tour-only versions of the Pro V1 ball available to PGA Tour players. The Pro V1 Plus Spin is marked with a <s----PRO V1---s> on the seam while the Pro V1x Plus Trajectory has a <+---PRO V1x---> on its seam.

According to a Titleist tour rep, "These products are customized versions of 2009 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls that have been designed to optimize performance for a small handful of PGA Tour players."  

According to Titleist, of the 96 players in the field at Sony last week who played a Titleist ball, just six used the Pro V1x Plus Trajectory and only two played the Pro V1 Plus Spin.

The tour rep also wrote in bold, "These products are not in response to nor designed to address new groove rules and they are not planned to be sold commercially."

Titleist is not planning on making any changes to the current Pro V1 or Pro V1x ball in response to the USGA's new groove rule changes. The ball was most recently updated for the 2009 season.

Callaway-FTiz-Driver_600 Callaway
Ernie Els is continuing to use Callaway's yet-to-be-released FT-iZ driver (right). The triangular-shape club, which was reviewed in the 2010 Golf Magazine ClubTest, is being touted by the company as being the longest and straightest driver its ever made.

It certainly seems to be working for Els, as he averaged 306 yards per drive at the Sony Open, 15 yards more than his 2009 season average. Els also continued to use Callaway's Tour i(s) ball.

TaylorMade
According to TaylorMade, Retief Goosen became the first player to request a new face plate be installed in a TP wedge with xFT.

Using a torque wrench, the face plate (which contains the wedge's grooves) can be removed and replaced with a new one that contains fresh, sharp grooves. Goosen, the 2001 and 2004 U.S. Open champion, had the face plate in both his 54° and 60° wedges replaced.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade, Titleist and Callaway clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

January 11, 2010

Gear Notes: Sean O'Hair, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink and Others Swing New Clubs

Posted at 12:05 PM by David Dusek

YE-Yang-TaylorMade-Equipment_600 TaylorMade
During the off-season, Sean O'Hair switched from TaylorMade's Tour Preferred irons to the company's new R9 TP irons.

Martin Laird, Nathan Green, Retief Goosen and SBS Championship runner-up Rory Sabbatini are all playing TaylorMade's new TP wedges with XFT, which have interchangeable face plates that allow golfers to replace old and worn grooves without having to switch clubs.

2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang (top) asked TaylorMade to build him a new 3-wood that produced a lower ball flight and would keep his shots below the winds swirling in Hawaii. Yang used a 13° TaylorMade Burner TP at Kapalua.

Paul-Casey-Nike-Driver_600 Nike
All four Nike staff players who competed last week at Kapalua—Stewart Cink, Paul Casey (right), Stephen Ames and Lucas Glover—used one of the company's Method putters. The Method line of putters should begin arriving in pro shops around Feb. 1.

Casey and Cink both used Nike's new Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour drivers, but stuck with their trusty SQ II fairway woods.

Titleist
I was well documented that SBS Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy is now a Titleist staff player, having switched from another Acushnet brand, Cobra. Bo Van Pelt also competed at Kapalua as a Titleist player for the first time. Van Pelt used:

DRIVER: Titleist 909 D2 (8.5°) with a Mitsubishi Fubuki 73 X shaft
FAIRWAY: Titleist 909 F3 (15°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 73 X shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (17°) with a UST Mamiya Proforce V2 104 shaft
IRONS: Titleist Forged MB (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold SL shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C (51°, 56°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold SL shafts

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Nike | TaylorMade | Titleist

(Photos: Yang/Eric Risberg/AP; Casey/Robert Beck/SI)




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