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July 21 2013

7:40 PM

Equipment Roundup: Open C'ship

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

Lee Westwood became the latest high-profile name to start working with instructor Sean Foley. One of the first things Foley did was change Westwood's driver setup, moving the ball slightly farther up in his stance.

The slight tweak -- Westwood is now hitting the ball on the upswing -- resulted in the need for a lower lofted driver. Westwood went from a PING G25 with 12 degrees of loft to 10 degrees.

He also swapped out his G25 hybrid for a PING i20 2-iron that gave him a better option off the tee, and went back to his old PING Redwood Anser putter -- a model he's won with nine times in his career.

Westwood had been using a PING Nome TR putter recently but felt more comfortable on Muirfield's green with the older model  -- he usually carries the Redwood Anser with him to each tournament, just in case --  and put it in play. 

PING's prototype driving iron: PING debuted a 17-degree prototype driving iron called "Rapture" at the British Open. Made from 17-4 Stainless steel with a high-strength 455 Carpenter Stainless steel face that was purposely thinned out to allow designers to repurpose discretionary mass low and back on the clubhead for a low center of gravity.

Seven players in the field used the prototype the very first week, including Jamie Donaldson, Luke Guthrie, Louis Oosthuizen and Billy Horschel.

TaylorMade's SLDR prototype driver makes a splash: One week after 13 players put TaylorMade's new SLDR prototype driver in play at the John Deere Classic and European Tour's Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, a total of 14 switched to the new driver at the British Open.

Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Ryan Moore, Darren Clarke, Ken Duke and Martin Kaymer were a few of the notable names to go with the driver after going through on-course testing. 

Mizuno unveils MP-4, MP-54 irons: Even though the irons didn't go in play at Muirfield, Mizuno gave golfers a sneak peek of its new MP-4 and MP-54 irons.

Mizuno wouldn't divulge info on the irons, but based on the photos that were posted, it looks like MP-4 will be the company's first blade offering since 2011. MP-54 is a cavity back model with a slot in the back of the iron that should increase ball speed.

Charl Schwartzel's putter switch: Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel fired 75 and broke his 8-iron in the process during a frustrating opening round at Muirfield.

Following the round, Schwartzel did some work with Nike reps on his putter and decided to put a new weighted Method 001 prototype with an S-bend hosel in play. The putter switch resulted in a 68 on Friday and a T-15 finish for the week.

Driving irons, long irons popular: Phil Mickelson won the British Open without a driver in the bag, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that most of the players in the field opted to use stronger lofted fairway woods, driving irons and long irons to keep the ball in play off the tee.

Martin Laird put a TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB 3-iron in his bag to match his current Tour Preferred (4-PW) setup. The long iron was used as his primary driving iron for the fast and firm conditions at Muirfield. 

David Duval also had Nike reps build him a VR_S Forged 2-iron that was 1/4-inch longer and 2-degrees stronger -- in essence a 1-iron -- than his previous 2-iron. 

Jordan Spieth pulled his Titleist 913Hd hybrid and went with Titleist's 712U driving iron. Matteo Manaseero and Bill Haas also went with a 712U, while Brandt Snedeker added an 18-degree Mizuno MP Fli-Hi.

Sergio Garcia's new putter: Sergio Garcia became the first TaylorMade staffer to switch into the new counterbalanced Spider Mallet, after testing it during practice rounds. 

The high-MOI mallet is similar to the blade version Justin Rose used to win the U.S. Open -- in that it has a 130-gram counterbalanced grip and heavier head. 

Ryan Moore goes counterbalanced: Ryan Moore finished T-32 with Boccieri Golf's "Secret Grip" on every club except his putter. The weighted grip weighs 92 grams (versus 55-60 for a traditional grip), which raises the balance point of the club for a counterbalanced feel.

Moore began testing the grips at the John Deere Classic and put them on his clubs for the very first time at Muirfield. 

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