Brandt Snedeker has used an older TaylorMade Superfast driver for years. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Brandt Snedeker's older model TaylorMade Burner SuperFast driver remained in play at the RBC Heritage, but one of the oldest clubs in the five-time PGA TOUR winner's bag could be on its way out.
Snedeker started working extensively with a new TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 driver (9 degrees with a 46-inch Aldila Tour Blue 65TX shaft) at an event on Tuesday and during Wednesday's pro-am.
Palmer goes to TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs: Ryan Palmer has tried various putters over the years, but his Odyssey Dual Force Rossie II has always found its way back into the bag. The putter has been with Palmer for almost his entire professional career and helped him win two of his three PGA TOUR titles.
Palmer may go back to the putter at some point, but for at least one week he decided to shelve his trusty sidekick for a 35-inch TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs putter. Intrigued by the counterbalanced putter -- Daddy Long Legs was released at retail this week -- Palmer decided to give it a test drive early in the week before putting it in play on Thursday.
While the putter is 35 inches, Palmer said he plans to choke down a couple inches on the grip. He also noted the high MOI and stability of Daddy Long Legs' shape and counterbalance grip (which is 130 grams) helped him keep the ball on his intended line -- especially on putts from inside 20 feet.
Callaway X-Hot 3Deep a perfect fit at Harbour Town: One of the tighter courses on the PGA TOUR schedule, Harbour Town requires pinpoint accuracy and distance control off the tee. Long hitters rarely have to pull driver out of the bag, preferring instead to use a 3-wood to keep it in play.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Callaway saw a bump in X-Hot 3Deep requests early in the week. Looking for a club with the workability of a 3-wood in a mini-driver package, a number of players, including Ryo Ishikawa and Luke List, decided to give Callaway's newest creation a try.
Ishikawa went with a 14.5-degree (actual loft 13.9 degrees) that was built for him at the Shell Houston Open. The course-dependent club has a 43-inch Graphie Design Tour AD GT-8 TX shaft with a custom Graphite Design cord grip.
Luke List had Callaway reps build him a 14.5-degree with a 43.5-inch Oban Kiyoshi Black 90x shaft. List initially went with his Mitsubishi gamer shaft but felt his spin numbers were too high. The Oban rectified the problem and allowed him to maintain the same trajectory and distance off the tee.
Daly adds Adams DHy driving hybrids: Adams' DHy driving hybrid has replaced a number of long irons on the PGA TOUR over the past several weeks. John Daly is one of the latest to added two to the bag. One is an 18-degree opened 16 degrees, specifically for tee shots at Harbour Town. The other is a 21-degree, bent to 22.5 degrees, that currently serves as a 3/4 iron replacement.
Kaymer goes with TaylorMade R1 driver: The week following the Masters is usually one where you'll see players start working with new equipment. Martin Kaymer was one of the noteworthy names after he dropped his TaylorMade RBZ Tour driver for an 8-degree TaylorMade R1 with a Graphie Design Tour AD shaft.
Kaymer noticed R1 was beating RBZ Tour in comparison testing during the week and finally pulled the trigger.
Pettersson makes 3-wood change: Carl Pettersson spent an extended amount of time on Monday testing 3-woods on the the driving range. Pettersson went with a 13-degree Nike VR_S Covert Tour with a neutral face-angle setting because he liked the club's ball flight and felt it gave him the best chance to work the ball around Harbour Town's tight layout.
Divots: Rory Sabbatini prefers to grind his own wedge, but when he switched from a 60-degree TaylorMade TP xFT (Exchangeable Face Technology) to a new 60-degree TaylorMade ATV prototype at Hilton Head, he didn't touch the sole. Sabbatini noted the performance and versatility of ATV allowed him to keep the wedge as-is ... Stuart Appleby became the latest player to change to Callaway's HEX Chrome+ ball. Appleby preferred the softer feel and quieter sound around the green ... In an attempt to close the distance gaps at the top end of his bag, Patrick Reed went from four wedges to three and added a 19-degree Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood. The 5-wood plays more like a 4-wood due to the ball flight, and Reed was able to tweak his wedge gap and go with a 54-and 59-degree Nike VR Pro setup ... A traditional muscleback iron player, James Driscoll switched to TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour following several weeks of meticulous work in comparison testing ... Robert Garrigus kept a 25-degree Adams Super LS hybrid in the bag at Hilton Head after using it at the Masters. Garrigus generally only uses a 22-degree Adams Super S but likes the versatility of the 25-degree.
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Phil Mickelson is still the face of Callaway Golf, but there’s no question the Carlsbad, Calif. based company is looking towards the future, after it announced the signing of 21-year-old Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa to a multi-year deal on Thursday at a press conference in Japan.
“I am very happy to join the Callaway team,” Ishikawa said. “I believe the wonderful innovation and support Callaway gives to its many great staff players with help me grow as I compete on the PGA TOUR this year.”
According to Callaway, Ishikawa will have an 8.5 degree RAZR Fit Xtreme driver, 15 degree X Hot fairway wood, 18 degree X Utility Prototype iron, 2013 X Forged irons (3-PW), X Forged wedges (C-grind) in 50 and 58 degrees, and an Odyssey putter in the bag. He’ll also wear Callaway-branded apparel, caps, gloves and footwear.
The Ishikawa signing continues Callaway’s recent youth movement over the last few weeks. While the 21-year-old is the youngest addition to the staff, recent Callaway signings Gary Woodland, Nicolas Colsaerts, Chris Kirk and Andres Gonzales are all 30 or younger.
“Ryo is an exciting, young international talent who has proven he can compete and win at the highest level,” Chip Brewer, Callaway Golf President and CEO, said. “And not only is he an accomplished golfer, Ryo is an extraordinary and generous young man. We are proud that he has chosen our products for their exceptional performance, and we are excited to welcome Ryo to Team Callaway.”
As a 15-year-old, Ishikawa became the youngest golfer to win a men’s tournament on the Japan Golf Tour in 2008. He also won the Japan Golf Tour’s The Crowns event in 2010 with a record-setting 12-under 58 during the final round. Ishikawa will open his 2013 season at the Humana Challenge.