Members of Titleist's R&D team were on hand at Riviera giving players a glimpse of the next generation of the 712U driving iron — a forged, hollow-body club that's made from 1025 steel with a high-speed 455 carpenter steel face insert. The iron also has a deep center of gravity that's positioned for a higher MOI that delivers increased stability and playability.
The driving iron has been used by a few high-profile names in the last year, including Masters winner Adam Scott — he had 712U in play at Augusta National — Jordan Spieth and Geoff Ogilvy.
The prototype version looked very similar to the current 712U but didn't have the Titleist script on the head. Titleist reps wouldn't comment on the changes that were made to the club; however, out of the four prototypes players tested on the practice range, they confirmed one version in particular was the clear-cut favorite.
Rose switches to JetSpeed fairway wood: Making his first start of the season at the Northern Trust Open, Justin Rose showed up with a new 15-degree TaylorMade JetSpeed fairway wood. According to TaylorMade reps, Rose loved the look and shape of the head, as well as the way the head glided through the turf.
TaylorMade launched the JetSpeed line at the end of last year. The fairway woods feature a Speed Pocket in the sole — the Speed Pocket boosts ball speeds — a slightly shallower face for playability and a lower, forward CG. The fairway woods are designed to launch the ball higher with less spin for increased distance.
New Odyssey putter for Every: Matt Every posted his third top-10 finish of the season with a new Odyssey Versa #7 (black-white-black) putter. The modified mallet featured a double-bend shaft with full-shaft offset, and a White Hot insert. Every finished the week 9th in strokes gained/putting and T12 in putts per green in regulation.
Seven players put 12-degree drivers in play: The low spin, high launch characteristics of TaylorMade's SLDR has caused a number of players to increase the loft on their driver. This week at Riviera, a record seven players in the field used an SLDR driver with 12 degrees of loft.
Divots: Aaron Baddeley added a 19-degree Adams Tight Lies fairway wood. ... Brendan Steele put three new Titleist Vokey Design SM5 wedges (52, 58 and 60 degrees) in play, finished third in greens regulation (71 percent) and posted his second top-10 finish of the season. ... Russell Henley had his Nike Method 006 putter flattened 1/2 degree because he was carrying his hands lower on the grip. ... David Lynn transitioned into TaylorMade's Tour Preferred X ball after doing ball testing at Riviera.