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February 18 2013

5:05 PM

Equipment roundup: Northern Trust

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

Even though he came up short in his bid to secure PGA TOUR win No. 2, Charlie Beljan's first week with Cleveland's 588 MT irons was a success. Like a number of Cleveland staffers, Beljan switched his long irons (2, 3 and 4) to the new game-improvement MT line at the Northern Trust Open.

"I don’t play a 3-wood anymore," Beljan said. "I use the 2-, 3- and 4-irons of the 588 MT. You get the same feel as a solid iron with a much higher trajectory, and I’m getting a couple of extra yards, too."

The irons are geared towards higher handicappers, but a number of players -- including Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and Vijay Singh -- have gone with MT long irons due to the club's ease of use and higher trajectory.

Mickelson goes back to Odyssey Versa: Phil Mickelson has worked with two different putters over the first month-plus of the season. After opening the year with a Odyssey's new Versa putter at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Mickelson went back to his Odyssey Black Series Tour Design #9 the following week. The 41-time PGA TOUR winner decided to make another change at the Northern Trust Open, putting the Versa #9 WBW (white-black-white) back in the bag.

Haas puts new 2013 Titleist Pro V1x in play: Switching golf balls early in the season can be a tricky proposition -- especially when you're coming off consecutive top-10 finishes. But after putting the new 2013 Titleist Pro V1x to the test during a Tuesday practice round at Riviera, Bill Haas moved out of the old Pro V1x model and into the latest version. The switch produced a tie for third, his third straight top 10 of the season.  

Van Pelt switches to TaylorMade R1: Bo Van Pelt put a new TaylorMade R1 driver in play after comparison testing showed a boost in ball speed, total distance and a tighter dispersion compared to his RBZ Tour.

Bae goes with Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme: Sang Moon Bae became the latest Callaway staffer to switch to RAZR Fit Xtreme at the Northern Trust Open. Callaway Tour reps worked with Bae to move him from Legacy driver to a 9.5-degree (actual loft 9.2 degrees with a 1-gram weight in the toe and 14-gram weight in the heel) RAZR Fit Xtreme. With the new driver his launch went from an average of 11.5 degrees to 10.75 degrees and spin rate dropped from 2800-2900rpm to 2350-2450rpm. He was also turning the ball over consistently.

Sutherland tweaks Ping G25 3-wood: Less than a week after Kevin Sutherland put a new Fujikura 8.0 Speeder shaft (tipped 1 inch) in his 15-degree Ping G25 3-wood at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he arrived at Riviera looking to reduce spin. Instead of switching shafts or tipping his Fujikua an extra half-inch, Ping's Tour reps decided to take three-quarter degree of loft off the club. 

Jim Furyk adds Callaway X Hot Pro hybrid: Jim Furyk went with a new a Callaway X Hot Pro (20-degree) at the Northern Trust Open. He noted that he really liked the higher ball flight and consistent distance control.

Divots: Graeme McDowell put a Cleveland 588 MT 4-iron and 5-iron in the bag. ... Jeff Maggert made a loft adjustment to his 13.5-degree Ping G25 3-wood, adding a half-degree to get a higher trajectory. ... Stewart Cink opened the season with a TaylorMade R11S but switched to R1 at the Northern Trust Open after significant progress and effort with testing. ... Looking to solve a yardage gap at Riviera, William McGirt added a TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 (17-degree) fairway wood. ... Arron Oberholser went with a new Ping Scottsdale TR Shea putter.

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