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MASTERS EQUIPMENT RECAP
Phil Mickelson was back to playing one non-adjustable driver – the Callaway FT-9 – at the Masters last week, but Kenny Perry swapped out his TaylorMade Tour Burner driver for a TaylorMade R9, which features movable weights and an adjustable clubhead. "I probably lost five to seven yards in distance," says Perry of his R9, "but it's given me a lot of confidence in its straightness." As for putters, Sergio Garcia returned to a belly putter, TaylorMade’s Rossa Monza Spider. And Vijay Singh used a new high-MOI mallet, the Never Compromise X-Ray, instead of his usual Never Compromise GM2 Exchange #7. The X-Ray has five metallic "ribs" in a soft insert that help generate a soft feel while getting the ball start rolling faster. Odyssey won the putter count with 31 in play, followed by Scotty Cameron (26) and Ping (11). Fujikura took the driver shaft brand count, Aldila won the woods/hybrids shaft count, and Titleist was the most played ball with 52. Among those 52 was winner Angel Cabrera, who used a New 2009 Pro V1x. Cabrera also played all Ping clubs, including the Rapture driver (7.5°), Rapture V2 3-wood, G10 2-iron, S57 irons, Tour W 54° wedge, a new Tour W TS (Thin Sole) 60° wedge, and a i-Series 1/2 Craz-e B belly putter, and wore FootJoy Classics Tour shoes.
Nike SQ Dymo STR8-FIT Driver
When Nike staffer Trevor Immelman captured the 2008 Masters, he opted to forego his neutral driver and instead play a 1˚ closed-face model, to help draw the ball -- then proceeded to hit 48 of 56 fairways. That request – and others just like it a from Tour pros -- led Nike officials to design the adjustable SQ DYMO STR8-FIT driver for all golfers, who can quickly set the clubhead into eight different positions that each represents a unique clubface/lie angle and ball flight. There are no extra shafts or clubheads. Instead, golfers just loosen the clubhead with the included wrench and then reposition it back into one of the eight slots in the shaft sleeve. Shots feel and sound rock solid. Ball flight thrusts through the sky, getting from tee to target in little time. The adjustability works as advertised, too: You’ll definitely notice ball flight adjust along with the clubhead setting.
Mizuno MX-700 Driver and Woods
Mizuno claims that the MX-700 driver’s “Hot Metal” Ti-9 titanium clubface and geometric 6-4 titanium body design help make this its most powerful and forgiving driver ever. The clubface has a unique aligned grain structure that expands the clubhead’s COR area (essentially the sweet spot) and increases ball speed for distance on off-center strikes. A low-and-deep center of gravity – working in conjunction with the clubhead shape -- helps golfers get a high, penetrating ball flight. It also is internally reinforced for powerful feel and sound. The fairway woods aesthetically match the driver, and feature a strong, thin lightweight steel clubface that’s plasma-welded to a stainless steel body. That construction helps yield increased COR, maximum energy transfer to the ball, high trajectory, and more ball speed. You’ll love your shots with these woods. They launch slightly higher than similarly lofted competitors – from off the tee or turf -- and feel rock solid at impact. And ball flight is steadily consistent.
HOT GEAR NEWS
Nike Golf staffer Paul Casey recently won his first PGA Tour event -- the Shell Houston Open – playing a new Nike prototype putter. That putter has helped catapult Casey to 9th place in putting average on the Tour…Padraig Harrington has been experimenting the past few weeks with both Wilson's Spine driver, a TaylorMade model, and even an old Titleist 905R (9.5 degrees), which he used at the Masters…Phil Mickelson inked a reported five-year extension with Callaway, to endorse it clubs…Graphite Design International’s new 47-inch Tour AD Throttle driver shaft is designed for long hitters who have a quick swing tempo. It has a stiff tip and high bend point, and a weight range of 70 to 74 grams…Shingo Katayama has switched clubs, moving from Nike to Japanese company OnOff. He's playing OnOff’s Plus driver, Plus fairway wood, Plus irons and Plus wedges…Speaking of equipment changes, since Chad Campbell jumped to endorse Adams Golf clubs at the beginning of the year, he’s been playing well. Campbell uses an Insight a4 8.5-degree driver, Idea Pro Gold 18-degree hybrid and Idea Tech a4 irons. He might soon be tempted to switch over to Adams’ brand-new Idea Pro Black irons, the company’s new premium muscle-back blades. The clubheads are forged from carbon steel and sport a black nickel ion finish. Most important, the irons boast an adjustable weight port in the flange, allowing for set customization, as well as aggressive CNC-milled grooves, thin top line, beveled trailing edge, and sole grinds with a forgiving four-way camber… Wilson Staff claims its 3.7-pound Eco-Carry is the first golf bag made from 100 percent recycled polyester fabric. Its fabric is made from bottles that are crushed into plastic flakes, then transformed into stable fibers and woven into a filament yarn used as the bag’s fabric. That process reduces the release of carbon dioxide by 70 percent. The slim bag boasts a neoprene handle, six-way top divider, and paddle-activated stand built into the top… TaylorMade, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2009, inked Greg Norman to its Tour Staff. The Shark will play the company’s clubs, a TP ball, use a TaylorMade staff bag and display the company logo on the side of his headwear. "It started with the TP ball, which I played at the Open Championship last year," says Norman. "TaylorMade's approach to the game and equipment design is very similar to my own." The company also signed Rory Sabbatini to play its equipment and wear its headwear … En route to winning the Masters, Angel Cabrera wore a belt that was made by putter manufacturer Bettinardi Golf. The stainless steel buckle and belt is engraved with Cabrera's initials.