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DEUCES WILD AT ST. ANDREWS
To combat the wind on a links-style course, many players have dropped their fairway woods and hybrids this week at St. Andrews, to instead compete for the Claret Jug with 2-irons. Tiger Woods - who complained that his 5-wood cost him some valuable strokes in last year's British Open - decided to use Nike's Blade 2-iron this week. Defending champ Stewart Cink has the Nike Pro Combo OS 2-iron in his bag, replacing his 5-wood. Matt Kuchar is using a Fourteen Golf driving iron - which bears the loft of a 2-iron -- instead of a hybrid. Ernie Els and Retief Goosen were planning on replacing their 5-woods with 2-irons. Rory McIlroy says that only if the wind gets unbearable, he'll swap his 5-wood for a 2-iron, as well. Interestingly, while many players prepared earlier this week practicing at St. Andrews with the latest clubs, Geoff Ogilvy visited Kingarrock, a course 10 miles away where golfers are required to play with hickory-shafted clubs and old golf balls. While Ogilvy averages 286.7 yards/drive this year on Tour, he managed about 175 with the ancient equipment.
Cobra Baffler Rail Fairway Wood
While Baffler hybrids have long been synonymous with forgiveness, control and versatility, that same technology is now offered in this entirely new, easy-to-hit fairway wood. The sleek 17-4 steel clubhead has a thin steel clubface that aims to increase ball speed and distance. An elongated clubface and low-profile head not only give you the visual confidence you need to help get the ball up, but also translate to a low, deep center of gravity and high Moment of Inertia for maximum forgiveness. The sole is designed to help you move the club effortlessly through turf, for cleaner contact with the ball and thus improved control. Cobra is also touting its patented 9 Point Face Technology that yields great ball action on the screws and minimal distance loss on off-center hits. That, alone, makes this fairway wood worth trying. After all, nothing's better than stepping up to hit the ball and knowing it's going to be on target..
Nike Victory Red Cast V-Rev Wedge
This wedge is already pretty popular among Nike's staffers on the PGA Tour - because of its classic profile, good looks and its playability. Its grooves are less aggressive, meaning they conform to the new USGA rules. Its Dual Sole design makes it extremely versatile in multiple course conditions, such as hilly lies, long grass and wet sand, to name a few. Made of soft 8620 carbon steel - which Nike says is 45% softer than 17-4 stainless steel -- it comes in terrific-looking satin chrome and glare-reducing black satin finishes. The latter rusts gracefully over time, which helps soften the feel even further at impact. The Crossline grips by Lamkin make these the complete package. The wedge is offered in eight loft/bounce combinations (52°/10°, 54°/12°, 56°/10°, 56°/14°, 58°/6°, 58°/10°, 60°/6° and 60°/10°).
HOT GEAR NEWS
Titleist just announced its WedgeWorks Exclusives line of Vokey Tour Van Design (TVD) wedges that come in two distinctive new finishes - Bright Brushed Chrome (not a mirror finish, but a little brighter than regular chrome) and Oil Can Zero (wears well over time, rusts gracefully, champagne look). Each of these wedges is custom-made and personalized, including length, lie and loft, toe engraving, paintfill, grips, shafts and shaftbands. Even the lower lofts are offered in a Tour grind. The company also debuted its 910 series driver in two flavors at the AT&T National a couple of weeks ago, and 15 players immediately put them in play. Last week, 22 pros tried them... Speaking of trying new products, you've probably heard by now that Tiger Woods replaced his trusty Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter with a Nike Method 001 blade, for the British Open (this was the same model used by Lucas Glover to win last year's U.S. Open and Stewart Cink to win the British Open). It's also served as Tiger's backup putter, although he's never used it in competition. Woods is also using a new Nike ball (marked as a One*Tour), that he switched to a few weeks ago. The ball is constructed like Nike's One Tour D but has a slightly softer cover and spins less - perhaps explaining why his drives are suddenly 15 yards longer than normal…Odyssey has made some new, special two-sided putters for Notah Begay, who putts right- and left-handed, depending on ball position relative to the hole... Rocco Mediate and Callaway parted ways. Mediate has reportedly been toying with clubs from several brands... Kenny Perry busted his PING Craz-E putter earlier this year, after the shaft rusted from the inside out and broke. Since then he's tried several, the latest being a Bobby Grace model…Vijay Singh is using some new shafts from Miyazaki, a brand of SRI Sports, which also owns Cleveland Golf and Srixon. Speaking of Srixon, it's donating 5% of net proceeds from the sale of its camouflaged packaged golf products and accessories or those featuring the USO logo, to the USO... SeeMore Putter expanded its milled CS Gunmetal series with the center-shafted mFGP blade and mFGP2 mallet that are 100% milled and available in soft carbon steel with a proprietary multilayer black gunmetal finish… Ryan Moore has begun playing a Custom MACHINE putter -- TIG welded center-shaft model -- from Dogleg Right... Sears opened Edwin Watts Golf Shops inside two of its Maryland stores. And Watts has celebrated several grand openings recently, including those in Livingston, N.J., Ocala, Fla., Hicksville, N.Y., Garden City, N.Y., Albany, Ga. and Murray, Utah… Paula Creamer captured the U.S. Women's Open playing, among other items, the TaylorMade R9 SuperTri driver, TaylorMade Rossa Daytona Kia Ma Ghost putter, and Bridgestone Tour B330-RX ball - all of which were introduced this year…Steve Stricker last week won the John Deere Classic playing all Titleist clubs in his bag, including a new set of the CB irons… Bobby Jones Golf is coming out with the SuperLite Series driver, promising tee shots 15 yards longer for golfers with swing speeds of 85 mph or less. That's mainly due to its longer-than-usual 47-inch, 45-gram SuperLite shaft.