March 30, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson switched back to his old irons for the Valero Texas Open. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Jim Furyk turned back the clock at the Valero Texas Open and went back to a putter that helped him secure the biggest payday of his career. After using an Odyssey Versa #1W for the past year, Furyk shelved the putter for a Yes! Sophia — better known as the putter that helped him win the 2010 FedExCup and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
The story behind the putter goes back to the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. Struggling with his putting — he used three different putters during the 2010 FedExCup Playoffs — Furyk walked into a local golf store and purchased a Yes! Sophia with a nick on the head that helped him line up the ball.
"It's got a nick on the back flange, it's got a little ding in the top line," Furyk said following his 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola victory. "I never loft-and-lied it, which is rare for me because I've always got my putters on a loft-lie machine at home, and the way the grip is on it, it might be slightly off center, but that's kind of how I like it anyway. I guess we were meant to be, who knows."
Ranked 148th in strokes gained-putting coming into the week, Furyk gave the trusty putter another shot. Similar to what happened at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship, Furyk found his stroke and finished 37th in strokes gained-putting while posting his first top five finish of the season (T5).
Mickelson goes back to old irons: In search of a spark before the year's first major, Phil Mickelson went back to his Callaway X Forged '13 irons at TPC San Antonio. Mickelson had been using Callaway's Apex Pro irons since the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
The X Forged '13 irons were in the bag last season when Mickelson played the British Open at Muirifeld. Along with the X Forged irons, the five-time major winner also added an Apex 3-iron and 64-degree Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedge.
Even with the changes to the bag, Mickelson struggled to find his game. He made the cut on the number and then withdrew midway through his third round with a pulled oblique muscle.
Rollins adds Tank Cruiser: John Rollins became the latest player to add Odyssey's Tank Cruiser putter to the bag. Rollins opted for a Tank Cruiser #1 that
matched his specs (normal 1° loft and 70° lie angle) and had two 15-gram weights in the sole. The putter also had a 15-gram weight in the butt end of the grip that gave him the best feel on the greens at TPC San Antonio.
SLDR MiniDriver making noise: With less than two weeks to go before the first round of the Masters, TaylorMade's SLDR MiniDriver is gaining traction. TaylorMade started the week with 30 heads and ran out before the trucks left on Wednesday.
According to TaylorMade Tour Reps, most players requested two heads in different shaft lengths. During testing, a majority of the players had a smash factor between 1.51 or 1.52 with the unreleased club.
Troy Matteson became the first to put it in play, adding two SLDR MiniDrivers (10.5 degrees and 12 degrees) to the bag. The 10.5-degree SLDR MiniDriver is a TOUR-only model that was used exclusively off the tee and featured a longer hosel for bending purposes. The 12-degree version, which made its TOUR debut at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, was used primarily off the fairway.
Matteson liked the idea of playing two SLDR MiniDrivers because he felt like both clubs gave him additional control off the tee and from the fairway, without having to sacrifice distance. He finished the week T46, averaged 286.4 yards off the tee (T35) and hit 53.57 percent of his fairways (T46).
Divots: Troy Matteson switched from TaylorMade's Tour Preferred X golf ball into the Tour Preferred for additional spin.