After winning the season-opening Mercedes Championship last year, and then winning another WGC-Accenture Match Play title, Geoff Ogilvy was a trendy pick to win the 2009 Masters.
If the 32-year-old Australian is going to have another hot start to his season, he will need to get the most from a lot of new equipment. Ogilvy has moved within the Acushnet family from Cobra to Titleist, and will now use that company's clubs, wear a Titleist hat and carry a Titleist bag.
Ogilvy has also changed footwear and apparel sponsors, switching from Puma to FootJoy.
"I was one of those guys who grew up with Titleist," Ogilvy said Wednesday evening during a phone conversation. "There's a lot of business involved, but this was a deal that I always hoped would work out. It's sort of like coming home."
Ogilvy played most of his junior golf using Titleist equipment, so he is used to the look of his new MB irons. He began tinkering with a new set of irons several months ago, when he realized that he would definitely be playing Titleist equipment in 2010.
"Titleist just made me a set of irons to the exact specification of the Cobras I had been playing [Pro MB]," he said. "And, because of the close relationship between Cobra and Titleist, they can get similar, if not the same people, to build my clubs. They came out exactly right."
On a few occasions last season Ogilvy chose to pull out his Cobra S9-1 5-wood and put in a Cobra Pro CB 2-iron. While Ogilvy admits that his 5-wood is valuable ("I'm having a harder and harder time taking it out of the bag"), on the occasions when he wants to go with a 2-iron, he'll use a Titleist Forged CB.
Getting fitted for a new set of irons was pretty easy, but putting a third new driver in his bag in less than a year was a bit more challenging.
"It's a record-setting change for me," he said. "I've usually played one kind of driver for a couple of years and skip the model before getting a new one."
At Kapalua last year Ogilvy put a Cobra S9-1 driver with an Aldila Voodoo shaft into play for the fist time and felt it was the best driver he ever played. Then, at the Barclays Championship in August, he began testing Cobra's adjustable ZL driver. That club, with an Aldila RIP shaft, found its way into his bag the next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
This week Ogilvy will be playing a Titleist 909 D3 with an Aldila RIP shaft.
"I think drivers are getting better and better, and I think that I'm getting better at changing," he said. Ogilvy says that the Aldila RIP shaft has certainly helped the transition from one driver to the next because it seems to match his swing and needs almost perfectly.
For now, Ogilvy is sticking with his Cobra S9-1 fairway woods, Scotty Cameron Newport putter and Pro V1 balls, but he is testing some Titleist fairway woods now. The Aussie will be taking three to four weeks off before defending his title at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in late February because his wife, Julie, will be giving birth to the couple's third child. He expects the new fairway woods will debut after that break.
Like other pros on the PGA Tour, Ogilvy will be using wedges with smaller grooves that are less sharp this season. While he feels there will be some difference in the way the ball reacts on certain shots, Ogilvy does not feel the new groove rules will dramatically change the way the game is played.
"I don't think it's going to be any better or any worse, it's just going to be an adjustment," he said. "On certain firm-green golf courses you're going to have to be aware of where you will lay up to on a par five."
Partial wedge shots, which players could previously hit with lots of spin and stop on a dime, will now likely release and roll more on slick greens. At Augusta National, Ogilvy thinks the new grooves could actually help on certain shots.
"It has always been easy to spin the ball back off the green [and into the pond] if you laid up on the par-5 15th hole," he said. "That shot has always been very awkward, so I think there is a good element to not having as much spin on your wedges. It would be very desirable in that situation."
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(Photo by Eric Risberg/AP Photos)