MARANA, Ariz. — Ask almost any pro if there is a miss off the tee that simply can't be tolerated, and you'll hear the same thing—left. A draw tends to roll out and get deeper into trouble while faded shots tend to stop more quickly.
Ross Fisher uses a Titleist 910D3 driver, but because he had been missing left too often leading up to this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he had two in his golf bag Tuesday morning before he started his practice round.
"They're very similar," he told me outside the clubhouse. "They've both got 8.5° of loft and the same shaft [Project X X7A3]. I've been struggling a little and missing shots left, which with my older driver I wasn't doing at all."
To help Fisher hit more fairways, Titleist reps gave him two 910D3 drivers with slightly lighter weight plugs. Shaving those few grams of weight let the club builders add weight inside the driver heads in the toe area. That redistributed weight should, theoretically, keep the clubface from closing too quickly and help Fisher create the left to right ball flight he prefers.
"I tried it out [Monday] and it was pretty good," he told me with a smile.
During his 4-and-3 win over Robert Allenby on Wednesday, Fisher only missed one drive to the left. That was on the 13th hole, a par 5 playing 573 yards. But thanks to an excellent approach shot from 154 yards that stopped 10 feet from the hole, he still made birdie to win the hole and go 3 up on Allenby.
On the day, Fisher hit nine tee shots more than 300 yards, including a 344-yard bomb that split the fairway on the par-4 fifth hole.
While Fisher was seemingly able to adjust to his tweaked driver in a flash, he's a real stickler when it comes to another part of his equipment.
"I'm quite meticulous when it comes to grips," Fisher admitted. "If it doesn't feel right, it's like, 'That feels thicker,' or 'That feels thinner,' and the guys will tell me that it's the exact same thing that was on there before. But I'll just tell them it feels different. You know, this is our livelihood, we've got to be meticulous."
The bottom line when it comes to Fisher's grips is that if one doesn't feel right in his hands, he'll likely ask that they all be re-gripped.
Chris Tuten, the director of player promotions for Titleist Golf, laughed when I talked to him about Fisher's penchant for the perfect grip. The technicians in Titleist's tour van can properly re-grip clubs in their sleep, but Tuten said that Fisher has sent clubs back to be re-gripped up to four times before the start of an event before deciding that everything was just right.
When everything is just right for Fisher, watch out. His semifinal finish at this event in 2009 and win at the 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship on the European Tour prove that he can be a tough match play competitor.
Here's a complete list of the clubs in Fisher's bag this week:
DRIVER: Titleist 910D3 (8.5°) witha Project X X7A3 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 910F (15°) with a True Temper Project X X8A4 shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (17°) with a Fujikura Speeder 904 shaft
IRONS: Titleist 695 MB (3-9) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Vokey Design Spin Milled (48°, 54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X400 shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 2
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x