Gear Notes: Padraig Harrington's New Putter, Retief Goosen's New Driver, Robert Karlsson Bending Irons
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."
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."
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.
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.
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(Photos: Harrington, Stuart Franklin/Getty Images; Goosen, David Dusek)