January 20, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Humana Challenge winner Patrick Reed had a unique driver shaft in his Callaway Big Bertha Alpha at the Humana Challenge. While most players prefer shafts that are between 44-45 inches, Reed had a Fujikura Fuel Tour Spec 85x shaft that was 43 inches — or about the length of most 3-woods.
The reason behind the switch to a shorter shaft in his driver?
"Ever since I switched to my swing coach, Kevin Kirk, I've stuck with 43 inches, just because I stay a little bit better in pattern in my swing," Reed said. "And working with Callaway, since Byron Nelson last year, they were able to really fit me with the right kind of equipment, right kind of shafts and a combination that really keeps me going and allows me to feel confident in everything I'm doing."
Reed also noted he was able to go to a shorter shaft and not lose any distance — a sacrifice players typically have to deal with when cutting down a driver shaft. Reed finished the week 8th in driving distance (305.3 yards).
Buzz for TaylorMade Tour Preferred: TaylorMade ran into a problem early in the week at the Humana Challenge. With so many requests for Tour Preferred iron builds, the Tour truck had to re-order irons after the first day.
The Tour Preferred MB drew the most interest, with most players opting to take the irons home for further testing. Lucas Glover had a set of Tour Preferred MC irons built, while Trevor Immelman, Camilo Villegas, Carl Pettersson and Scott Gardiner all used new Tour Preferred CB irons.
Ishikawa switches to Big Bertha Alpha: Ryo Ishikawa tested a 9-degree Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver for the first time and immediately put it in play, along with a Big Bertha fairway wood.
According to Callaway Tour rep Mike Sposa, one slight adjustment to the driver's launch and spin characteristics gave Ishikawa the confidence to put it in the bag.
“We made one slight adjustment to the Gravity Core," said Sposa. "It was initially in the down position, with the 12 gram weight side toward the sole plate (down). I flipped it the other way so that it faces the crown, which increases the spin and lowers the launch.”
Ishikawa finished the week T-13 in driving accuracy (77.78 percent) and 24th in driving distance (297.3 yards).
PING i25 additions at Humana: Mark Wilson, Daniel Chopra and Chris DiMarco — DiMarco also added a set of i25 irons — became the latest to put PING's new low-spin, high-launch i25 driver in play at the Humana.
Wilson, who typically takes his time making equipment changes, saw a 9-yard increase in total distance, when compared to his PING Anser driver.
TaylorMade loft up craze causing changes in truck: A total of 40 players in the Humana Challenge field had TaylorMade's SLDR driver in the bag, with 23 players using a loft that was 10.5 degrees or higher.
The increase in loft, due in large part to the low-spin characteristics of SLDR and JetSpeed, has forced TaylorMade's Tour truck to make some changes. According to TaylorMade, the truck is now stocked with more 10.5 and 12-degree heads than ever before. Five players in the field (Scott Langley, Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, David Toms and Scott Verplank) used a 12-degree SLDR head.
Divots: Odyssey won the putter count (34 percent of the field) at the Humana Challenge. ... John Mallinger put a set of PING S55 irons in the bag. ... Stephen Ames switched to Nike's VRS Covert 2.0 3-wood (Accra MT 6x shaft). ... TaylorMade had 12 JetSpeed drivers in play, up five from last week's Sony Open. ... John Rollins switched to Odyssey's new high-MOI Jailbird putter.
For more on golf equipment, check out the PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE.