September 20 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
How good is Henrik Stenson playing at the moment? He managed to take a one-shot lead at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and extend it to four, after posting a near-flawless 4-under 66 on Friday with only 13 clubs in his bag.
Stenson, who snapped the head off his TaylorMade R1 driver in frustration last week at the BMW Championship, ran into a problem with his Callaway X Hot Pro 4-wood on the practice range that forced him to put the club in his locker.
"I was warming up, and my 4-wood started to sound a little funny on the range there," Stenson said. "I looked at the face on the two shots, and there was a funny sound, and the face had caved in on the top groove."
Callaway's Tour van was long gone by that point — all equipment trucks leave the tournament site on Wednesday afternoon — leaving Stenson with only one option: play with only 13 clubs.
"We put the club in the locker, and I played with 13 clubs today," Stenson said. "So I didn't have my second fairway wood. So it was good, though. I had a lot of nice 3-woods. Probably hit two good 3-woods on the hole. So I missed a fairway with my 4-wood yesterday."
Stenson was lucky he noticed the face had caved in before his round. If Stenson would have carried the non-conforming club, it would have been a two-stroke penalty. If he used it during play, it would've resulted in disqualification.
Charles Howell III was disqualified for a similar situation at the Wyndham Championship, when the toe cap housing the sliding weight on his TaylorMade SLDR driver came loose on the practice range. Howell III used the driver during the second round and was subsequently disqualified after 36 holes.
"I played with 13 clubs," Stenson said, "and I guess the scare you were mentioning there is that, if you carry a non conforming club that's broken before you play, you will get a two shot penalty, and if you use it during the round, you're disqualified. So that's obviously not a good thing."
With $11.4 million on the line this week — Stenson would take home that much if he won the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and FedExCup — Callaway wanted to make sure the Swede had a replacement 4-wood for the third round.
In a race against time, Callaway officials received the 4-wood build specs from the company's European Tour reps, who built the fairway wood for Stenson, and started making two replacement clubs for Stenson that were going to be overnighted for 9 a.m. delivery at East Lake Golf Club.
Callaway decided to send two because the Grafalloy Blue X shaft they had at headquarters has a CPM (what's used to precisely define the shaft flex) of 294, which is slightly less than the 304 CPM on Stenson's 4-wood shaft.
To make sure the correct shaft was put in the 4-wood, a rep from Graffaloy was driving to Callaway HQ with another shaft the he believed was right at 304 CPM.
With all of the drama surrounding the final two rounds of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, it looks like there could be at least one more plot twist before a winner is crowned on Sunday afternoon.