November 19 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Phil Mickelson made 2013 a year to remember for Callaway Golf — and that was before he won The Open Championship in dramatic fashion with four birdies over the last six holes at Muirfield.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open was where the buzz started for Callaway's 2013 product line. Mickelson played a major role in putting the RAZR Fit Xtreme driver on the map, coming within a shot of becoming the sixth player in PGA TOUR history — Callaway staffer Jim Furyk would later become sixth with an 11-under 59 at the BMW Championship — to shoot 59 with the new club.
Following the round, Mickelson called the driver, which went in the bag for the first time that week, a "revolutionary club." The equipment buzz continued shortly thereafter at the Shell Houston Open, where Mickelson used a taller-faced X Hot 3Deep fairway wood, followed by a one-of-a-kind X Hot Phrankenwood fairway wood the very next week at the Masters.
A few months later at The Open Championship, Mickelson would hit 3Deep off the tee and from the fairway — considered to be the shot of the tournament — on the 17th hole to secure the Claret Jug. While the major win capped an impressive year for Callaway, it was the buzz Mickelson continually generated with each new product that made 2013 such a memorable one for Callaway.
Equipment released on TOUR: X Hot and X Hot Pro (irons, drivers, fairway woods, hybrids); RAZR Fit Xtreme (driver, fairway wood); X Forged (irons); X Hot 3Deep (fairway wood); X Hot Phrankenwood (fairway wood); FT Optiforce (driver, fairway wood); Mack Daddy 2 (wedges); HEX Chrome + ball
PGA TOUR winners (2013): Phil Mickelson (Waste Management Phoenix Open, British Open); Sang Moon Bae (HP Byron Nelson Championship); Gary Woodland (Reno-Tahoe Open); Patrick Reed (Wyndham Championship)
Phil Mickelson nearly shoots 59 with RAZR Fit Xtreme: Phil Mickelson came within a shot of the elusive 59 during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a new RAZR Fit Xtreme driver in the bag. The driver featured a forged composite crown that lowered the center of the gravity, and a Speed Frame Face for increased ball speeds. Mickelson averaged 298 yards with the driver the first week and won by four shots.
“This driver spins so low that I can have more loft on the club, making it easier to hit," Mickelson said. "This has got to be good for every player I would think, but it sure as heck is good for me."
Callaway unveils X Hot 3Deep fairway wood: In preparation for the Masters, Mickelson pulled his RAZR Fit Xtreme driver at the Shell Houston Open and used a new X Hot 3Deep fairway wood as his "driver" for the week.
Callaway unveiled X Hot 3Deep at the beginning of the tournament week — a taller-faced version of the X Hot Pro fairway wood that, for Mickelson, was almost as long as his driver and gave him the ability to work the ball both ways with ease.
Callaway pulls back curtain on X Hot Phrankenwood: Arguably one of the most anticipated clubs in company history made its debut at the 2013 Masters. After hinting that he had a "special club" in the works, Mickelson discussed his new X Hot Phrankenwood during his Tuesday press conference.
"I asked the engineers to take the technology from that club and put it on steroids," Mickelson said. "I wanted to make it more like a driver. It looks like a 3-wood, but it's bigger than our 3-wood. It's almost like a small driver but it's the 3-wood technology of our X Hot in a driver."
Looking for a club that gave him the workability of the X Hot fairway wood in a driver, what Callaway engineers came up with was Phrankenwood, an 8.5 degree driver that acted more like a fairway wood and allowed Mickelson to get more rollout on his drives — something he mentioned gave him an extra club or two less into some of the holes at Augusta National.
Mickelson kept the club in play for several events following the Masters before using 3Deep as his driver on an almost regular basis.
Mack Daddy 2: Building on the success of the Mack Daddy groove, Callaway chief club designer Roger Cleveland released an updated version of the groove called Mack Daddy 2 that was conforming to USGA and R&A rules.
Phil Mickelson started using a 60-degree U-Grind Mack Daddy 2 wedge right before the Masters and moved to a full bag of MD2 wedges in the coming months.
The wedge, which comes in three different grinds, was a throwback to the X Forged wedge that featured a teardrop shape and big, aggressive "Mack Daddy" grooves that provided additional bite.
Cleveland's wedge was so popular in 2013, in fact, that non-Callaway staffers started using the wedge, including PING staffer Harris English. English had three MD2 wedges in the bag for his win OHL Classic at Mayakoba victory.
Distance leaders use Callaway drivers: Three of the top 5 in driving distance on the PGA TOUR used Callaway drivers in 2013, including leader Luke List (RAZR Fit Xtreme), No. 3 Nicolas Colsaerts (Callaway RAZR Hawk Tour) and No. 4 Gary Woodland (RAZR Fit Xtreme and RAZR Hawk Proto).
FT Optiforce: With two different driver models already on TOUR, Callaway made a late-season addition to the line with FT Optiforce at the Greenbrier Classic. The new model featured an aerodynamic profile — the head shape reduced drag by 20 percent during the swing — lightweight, forged composite crown, and variable face thickness technology.
At 290 grams, FT Optiforce was the lightest driver Callaway Golf had ever produced in the United States. To achieve the lightweight package, Callaway used the same forged composite crown found in RAZR Fit Xtreme to keep the head weight down.
It didn't take long for players to take notice of FT Optiforce. The driver quickly became Callaway's most used model, with everyone from Wyndham Championship winner Patrick Reed to Jim Furyk, who shot 59 with the driver, putting it in play late in the season.
Patrick Reed's memorable 7-iron shot: Callaway staffer Patrick Reed hit one of the best shots of the season at the Wyndham Championship with a RAZR X MB 7-iron. With Jordan Spieth already on the green, Reed flighted a shot under the trees from an awkward lie in the pine straw to within 10 feet from the cup. Reed made the putt to secure his first PGA TOUR title.
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