Dustin Johnson was one of six TaylorMade staffers to use the new R1 Black in Memphis.
(Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
TaylorMade debuted R1 Black on the PGA TOUR at the FedEx St. Jude Classic with a number of staffers putting the driver in play the very first week. Dustin Johnson, Brian Gay and Peter Hanson were the biggest names that switched from the white R1 to the glossy black-painted crown of R1 Black.
Overall, six decided to play R1 Black in Memphis, a number that seems even more astounding when you consider there were 32 R1 drivers in play in Memphis.
That means 19 percent of players in the field felt confident with the new paint job to switch after a couple days of testing. Five of the six using R1 Black made the weekend, including Dustin Johnson, who finished T10 for the week.
English goes back to old PING driver, fairway wood: Harris English punched his ticket to the PGA TOUR with a PING G15 driver (10.5 degrees) and PING G5 3-wood (15 degrees) in the bag last season. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the 23-year-old picked up his first win with the trusty clubs in the bag.
English had recently switched to PING's G25 driver and 3-wood but decided to give the old clubs a try on the range at TPC Southwind. He ended up having such a positive range session that he went back to the G15 and G5.
Plenty of players on TOUR carry old clubs, but English may be one of the only guys who can boast having a club in the bag from high school. The 15-degree G5 English carried this week has been a part of his bag in some capacity since his senior year of high school.
Dustin Johnson gets fresh grooves for Merion: Dustin Johnson's notable equipment change was switching from TaylorMade's white R1 to R1 black. However, he also made another change that likely flew under the radar.
Looking ahead to Merion, Johnson switched the face plates in his TaylorMade TP xFT wedges to promote maximum spin on the greens for the second major of the year.
Adams sets new PGA TOUR hybrid record: Less than a month after Adams set a PGA TOUR record with 59 hybrids in play at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the company broke its own record with 64 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The 64 by Adams represented 50 percent of all hybrids in play in Memphis.
Snedeker tests new woods: Brandt Snedeker didn't make any equipment changes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but he did spend time during the week working with a PING G25 3-wood (15 degrees; Aldila Tour Blue shaft) and TaylorMade's new R1 Black driver (8.5 degrees; Fujikura Fuel 2.0 shaft).
Snedeker is one of the few holdouts on TOUR still using TaylorMade's Burner SuperFast. Even though the Burner SuperFast was in the bag on Thursday, Snedeker tested out R1 Black during Wednesday's Pro-Am.
Gates adds new fairway wood, ball: It's rare that you hear a player on TOUR ask for less distance with a fairway wood, but that was the case this week in Memphis for Bobby Gates, who asked Callaway reps for a new fairway wood that didn't go as far as his Callaway X Hot Pro.
Reps built him a standard X Hot 3-wood that went the exact distance he was looking for with a higher ball flight and a little more spin. Gates made one more adjustment to the club, bending the lie angle 1 degree flat to 58 degrees, before it went in the bag.
Gates also switched to Callaway's new HEX Chrome+ ball. He liked the soft feel around the greens and how the ball held on approach shots.
Divots: In an attempt to lower his driver ball flight, Scott Langley switched from PING's G25 to PING's Anser. ... Scott Gardiner requested a new counterbalanced TaylorMade Spider Blade putter on Tuesday and put it in play on Thursday.