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December 17 2013

5:02 PM

Year in Review: Titleist

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Jason Dufner won the PGA Championship with the new Titleist 714 AP2 irons.

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

If major championships are the benchmark in professional golf, then it's safe to say Titleist had the best season of any major equipment manufacturer in 2013. Staffers Adam Scott and Jason Dufner not only became major champions at the Masters and PGA Championship, they did it with new products — 714 AP2 iron (Dufner), Scotty Cameron Futura X putter (Scott), and Vokey TVD-K grind wedge (Scott and Dufner) — in the bag.

To go along with the success at the majors, Titleist also saw the emergence of 20-year-old staffer Jordan Spieth, who became the first player to win a PGA TOUR event with the 714 AP2 iron, and a special victory for the Pro V1 at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

Successful debut for Titleist's 714 iron line:
Transitioning into a new set of irons usually takes time. For Titleist's 714 lineup — comprised of AP1, AP2, CB and MB irons — it didn't take very long for players to transition and win with the new irons. Titleist unveiled 714 at AT&T National and saw eight sets put in play the very first week.

Although the irons were released at the midway point of the season — Titleist has recently done its tour seeding and validation process for future driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons at AT&T National — the 714 AP2 managed to produce two wins in less than a month, including a major championship victory at the PGA Championship.

EQUIPMENT: Get the full story on Titleist's 714 iron lineup

All four models featured updated looks to the cavity, and improvements to the flight, forgiveness and feel — especially in AP1 and AP2.

Adam Scott wins Masters with prototype putter, new driver: Some of the biggest shots Adam Scott produced at the 2013 Masters came from two of the newest clubs in his bag. Scott, who arrived at the Masters having not played a competitive event since mid-March, switched from Titleist's 910 driver to the a 9.5-degree Titleist 913D3 driver, and added a Scotty Cameron Futura X prototype putter for the first major of the season.

The Futura X broomstick putter Scott used to roll in the winning 25-footer on the second playoff hole was precision milled from high-grade 6061 aluminum and featured a rear balance bar with two 20-gram weights for increased stability. The high-MOI mallet design was later released in a counter balanced model.

“I like to describe Futura X as a lethargic putter, for those golfers that need a slow, steady stroke that doesn’t jump around a lot,” Scotty Cameron said. “It’s the perfect design for Adam (Scott), and will give confidence to all golfers that want stability during the stroke and less hand manipulation.”

Dufner wins major with 714 AP2 irons: In a year of firsts for Titleist's 714 iron line, Jason Dufner became the first player to win a major championship with the new 714 AP2 model.

Dufner had been playing 712 AP2 but finally decided to switch and use the new irons for the very first time the week prior to the PGA Championship, at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

The following week, Dufner set the course record at Oak Hill Country Club and tied the lowest round in a major championship during the second round, firing a 7-under 63 to take the lead at the PGA Championship. He went on to win the tournament by two shots for his first major title.

Driving iron makes waves: Released at the end of 2012 as a TOUR-only prototype, Titleist's 712U driving iron made waves early in the 2013 season at the Masters when Adam Scott won his first major championship with a 712U 2-iron in the bag.

The forged utility iron boasted a forged, hollow-body 1025 steel construction with a high-speed 455 carpenter steel face insert; a deep center of gravity that's positioned for a higher MOI that delivers increased stability and playability when compared to a traditional long iron; and a wider, camber sole design that promotes clean turf interaction.

Of course, Scott wasn't the only player to have success with Titleist's 712U during the season. Zach Johnson won the BMW Championship with a 712U 3-iron; Jordan Spieth, Geoff Ogilvy and Tim Clark also put the forged utility iron in play.

Spieth signs staff deal with Titleist: Jordan Spieth opened the 2013 season without status on any major tour, or a full bag equipment contract. Fast forward to December and Spieth now has full-time status on the PGA TOUR thanks to a win at the John Deere Classic that catapulted the then-19-year-old into the spotlight. Spieth would later take home PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year honors, play in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and earn a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team.

Although Spieth had a ball contract with Titleist, he didn't become a staffer until the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Spieth was the first player to win with the 714 AP2 irons — his victory at the John Deere Classic made him the youngest PGA TOUR winner in 82 years — after putting the prototypes in play two weeks prior at AT&T National.

Titleist "Dot" driver causes a stir: In search of a Titleist driver with similar high launch and spin characteristics to his 910D2 driver, Jason Dufner tested out two different heads late in the season — a 10.5-degree 913 D3 with a modified center of gravity that was lower and more forward in the head, and a 9.5-degree 913 D2 with a center of gravity that was higher and farther back.

When neither driver produced the flight and spin Dufner was looking for, Titleist went to work on a new driver called the 913 D2 "Dot."

Chris McGinley, Titleist's vice president of golf club marketing, noted at the time that the head was identical to the retail version, with the exception of 0.5-degree more loft and a marginally higher, deeper center of gravity for a higher trajectory and spin.

Due to the slight adjustment to the driver, Titleist had to submit the adjusted 913 D2 to the USGA for testing and approval before it could be used in tournament play.
 
Stenson's historic Pro V1 win: Henrik Stenson's win at the season-ending TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola was special for a number of reasons. Along with becoming the first European player to win the event — and $11.44 million for capturing the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and FedExCup — Stenson's three-shot victory at East Lake Golf Club marked the 2,013 (2013) worldwide professional win for Titleist's Pro V1 model golf ball.

EQUIPMENT: Click here to read about the evolution of Titleist's Pro V1

In total, the Pro V1/Pro V1x were used to win two major championships (Masters and PGA Championship) and all four 2013 FedExCup events. With 19 PGA TOUR victories last season, the Pro V1 and Pro V1x recorded 12 more wins than its closest competitor.

Major success for Vokey's TVD-K grind: Master wedge craftsman Bob Vokey enjoyed a successful season thanks in large part to one particular grind — the new TVD-K grind, which was unveiled and added to the Wedgworks lineup at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show.

“The TVD-K is the evolution of the TK grind that we had on TOUR and as a limited release in WedgeWorks,” Vokey said. “It has a wider sole, with more camber. It has enough bounce to be very forgiving out of the bunkers but still allows shotmaking around the greens. It’s been popular with a lot of guys I’ve worked with on TOUR including Adam, Jason and Ben (Crane).”

Vokey Design's new wedge grind recorded some impressive wins during the season, as Adam Scott and Jason Dufner — the first staffer to use TVD-K in competition — won major championships with TVD-K. Brandt Snedeker also recorded a win at the RBC Canadian Open with a 60-degree version.

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