October 20 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Titleist's tour seeding and validation process has gone well this year. The 714 series prototype iron line debut last season at AT&T National and had eight sets in play the very first week, including Jordan Spieth, who switched to the 714 AP2 and finished T14. Spieth went on to post the first win for the 714 two weeks later at the John Deere Classic.
Las Vegas has typically been the site of the tour seeding and validation process for the ProV1 ball — a new version of the ball is unveiled during even-numbered years — but with it being an odd-numbered year, Titleist decided to unveil the Vokey SM5 wedge at TPC Summerlin.
Looking for feedback on the new wedge, master wedge craftsman Bob Vokey made his way to Las Vegas with SM5 wedges for more 60 players in the field. A total of 27 players put the new wedge in play the very first week, including top-10 finishers Jason Bohn, Charley Hoffman and Chesson Hadley.
With the Fall portion of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season coming to a close next month, Vokey officials wanted to make sure players had the new wedges at the Shriners Hospitals for Childrens Open so they could work with them at home during the holidays.
Watney latest to add Nike Covert 2.0: Nick Watney switched from Nike's Covert Tour driver to the new Covert 2.0 (9.5 degrees; Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73x shaft) at the Shriners Hospitals for Childrens Open.
Watney spent his off time between the TOUR Championship (his last official start) and the second event of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season testing the driver at home and felt comfortable enough with the new head to put it in play. He averaged 304.6 yards for the week (39th for the week) and hit 58.93 percent of the fairways (T27) at TPC Summerlin.
Teater switches to TaylorMade SLDR: Josh Teater became the latest player to switch to TaylorMade's SLDR driver. Teater had been playing R11, a driver that debuted three years ago on TOUR, but decided to give SLDR a test run.
Looking for a driver that had a closed face angle and high ball flight, TaylorMade Tour reps had Teater test a 10.5-degree SLDR head that had the sliding weight moved to the extreme toe, and a closed face angle, giving it a final loft of 11.5 degrees.
Teater tested the driver and put it in play on Thursday. He finished the week in 70th and was T13 in driving distance (314.5 yards).
Divots: William McGirt put TaylorMade RocketBladez 3-4 long irons in the bag for more control. He preferred the higher trajectory and playability he was getting with the irons. ... Russell Henley put the new VR_S Covert 2.0 5-wood into play, preferring the feel, sound, and ball flight of the 5-wood.