June 23 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Last week at the U.S. Open, Lee Westwood walked into the PING Tour truck and asked reps to build him a PING Nome TR putter. The request wasn't out of the ordinary for Westwood, who used an original Nome putter last year with some success.
What was out of the ordinary was the reason behind the decision to try the new flatstick. After watching Harris English win the week prior at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, Westwood figured if the putter worked for the PGA TOUR rookie, maybe it could help him as well.
TaylorMade had a similar situation at the Travelers Championship following Justin Rose's win at the U.S. Open with the company's new counterbalanced Spider Blade putter.
Curious to see if a counterbalanced model could make a difference on the putting green, Sean O'Hair (Spider Blade), Casey Wittenberg (Spider Blade), Troy Matteson (Daddy Long Legs), Bo Van Pelt (Spider Mallet) and Jim Herman (Daddy Long Legs) tested and switched putters.
TaylorMade also unveiled its newest counterbalanced putter at the Travelers Championship, Spider Mallet. The midsize half-moon mallet shape is similar to TaylorMade's Ghost Tour MA-81.
Sub-40 shaft for Pettersson: In the process of switching drivers at the Travelers Championship, Carl Pettersson also became the first player on the PGA TOUR to use Project X's new sub-40 gram PXv 39 shaft.
The shaft in his Nike VR_S Covert driver is the first TOUR-caliber graphite shaft that weighs under 40 grams at a raw length of 46 inches, and can handle high swing speeds.
Pettersson had been playing an 11.5-degree VR Pro driver and kept the same loft in the VR-S Covert Tour; however, he made one adjustment to the FlexLoft sleeve and moved the face angle to the "right" position.
Pettersson tested the PXv 39 a couple months back at the RBC Heritage and felt comfortable with the shaft to make the switch.
Cabrera goes Rogue: One week after Westwood became the first player to use Aldila's new Rogue prototype shaft — the shaft uses a very expensive, extremely stiff petroleum based carbon fiber and is nearly twice as stiff as any material Aldila has used in the past — in competition at the U.S. Open, Angel Cabrera decided to try it out as well in his 8.5-degree PING G25 driver.
The low torque and increased stiffness of Rogue was the perfect combination for Cabrera, who liked the fact that the tip stiff shaft produced less spin and a flatter trajectory with the driver.
Cabrera put the new shaft to good use at the Travelers Championship, finishing second in the field in driving distance (311.3 yards) for the week.
Three add TaylorMade R1 Black: After testing TaylorMade's R1 Black for the last few weeks, Travelers Championship winner Ken Duke, Ryan Moore and Lucas Glover decided to put the company's latest driver in the bag.
While the white R1 and R1 Black are identical from a performance standpoint, it should be noted that Duke and Moore saw slight increases off the tee with R1 Black.
Moore, who was averaging 281 yards coming into the week, averaged 283 yards over four days at TPC River Highlands; Duke averaged 282 yards for the week — including 295 yards during the final round — up 7 yards from his season average (275 yards).
Wagner swaps out irons, wedges: Following a stretch of four straight missed cuts and a W/D in his last five PGA TOUR starts, Johnson Wagner figured it was time to mix things up at the Travelers Championship.
The three-time PGA TOUR winner swapped his Titleist 712 CB irons and Vokey wedges for a set of PING S56 irons and Gorge wedges.
Divots: Wells Fargo Championship winner Derek Ernst pulled his PING Anser hybrid and replaced it with a 20-degree G25 7-wood. ... Chris Kirk put a PING G25 fairway wood and Anser hybrid in play.