By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
As anyone who has ever read a golf magazine or shopped at a golf store can attest to, equipment manufacturers are quick to tout their products alongside a champion.
Imagine seeing Luke Donald’s name tied to four different companies. That’s how many can stake a claim to the bag of the man who topped the 2011 PGA TOUR money list by virtue of his win at the Fall Series finale, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Donald is most closely associated with Mizuno, wearing the company name on his visor and playing their MP-62 irons, plus MP T-11 wedges and a Hi Fli CLK 17-degree hybrid.
But off the tee, he uses a TaylorMade R11 driver, the familiar white model that took the TOUR by storm at the start of the year. He also swings a TaylorMade R9 13-degree 3-wood.
Donald finished No. 1 in Strokes Gained-Putting this year, beating Steve Stricker by a wide margin (.844 to .769). He did that with an Odyssey White Hot XG No. 7, one of the company’s more unusual looking models with its weighted alignment wings extending off the rear of the clubhead. Odyssey is under the Callaway Golf umbrella.
And to top it all off, Donald plays the Titleist ProV1x ball, which puts him in the majority of TOUR pros.
BIG CHANGE: Bob Estes, who finished the season 135th on the money list, made a swing plane change and, as Golf World Monday reported, had to make a wholesale change to his TaylorMade clubs. Technicians reviewed Estes’ divot patterns and found he needed clubs that were two degrees more upright.
That’s a significant change, but it was the right one. Estes finished T28 at Disney, his second-best finish in 12 starts this season.
TWEAKS: Scott Gutschewski and Derek Lamely came to the season finale tied for 35th in driving distance. They both finished in the top 20 at Disney after making adjustments to their Callaway RAZR-Fit drivers, with Gutschewski getting the edge (293.5) over Lamely (290.4) and breaking the tie.
Gutschewski also changed the shafts in his driver and fairway woods to the Nventix Nunchuk GH 2660. As the company explains, the shaft actually resembles the martial arts device of the same name by having two rigid ends and a softer midsection.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Callaway Golf debuted two new products at the Frys.com Open, a new driver in its RAZR line and a new ball.
The company hasn’t been in the adjustable-driver marketplace, but with the RAZRFit Callaway hopes to compete with similar offerings from TaylorMade and Titleist.
As Zak Kozuchowski of GolfWRX wrote earlier this week, the RAZRFit includes an interchangeable shaft connection like other manufacturers’ offerings, as well as an adjustable hosel that allows golfers to set the face angle as either open, square or closed. It also features two moveable weight ports that can be changed to either neutral and draw settings.
Ernie Els put a 9.5-degree model in play at CordeValle and finished T4, hitting 60.7 percent of his fairways for the week, in line with his season average. Other players using the club included Trevor Immelman, Cameron Beckman and Scott Gutschewski.
The club is not expected to be on sale to the public until 2012.
Callaway also had a prototype HEX Black ball in competition at Frys.com, a five-piece model with a dual core and dual-mantle layer, plus a redesigned hexagonal pattern on the cover. Els and Derek Lamely used the ball in California.
TRY, TRY AGAIN: Sun Mountain is providing outerwear for the United States team at next month’s Presidents Cup. Hopefully this won’t be a storyline once competition begins.
That wasn’t the case at last year’s Ryder Cup in Wales, where persistent rains penetrated the Americans’ Sun Mountain gear to the point that players bought new rain suits by other manufacturers at merchandise tents. The company took plenty of criticism, and wasn’t helped by the fact that the U.S. lost the matches.
This year, Sun Mountain said it worked with the U.S. team to design jackets and pants that will better protect from the elements while staying breathable. The company said its new woven material stretches in four directions, is completely waterproof and has a water-repellant finish.
TIGER TALK: One day after Tiger Woods said he had “one of the worst putting rounds” of his career in his first-round 73 at the Frys.com Open, he returned with two pieces of lead tape on his Nike Method putter.
Turned out to be a good call, as Woods followed with three consecutive 68s and finished T9 for the week in putts per round -- his best putting effort all season.
Woods also carried two new clubs in his bag, VR Pro Limited 3- and 5-woods (15 and 19 degrees).
ON THE SHELVES: Rushing to meet demand for the biggest trend on the PGA TOUR this year, TaylorMade is ramping up production to get the Corza Ghost and Ghost Spider long putters into stores. The company projects it will sell five times as many belly and long putters in 2011 compared to last year.
Retail price for both models is $199.
WINNER’S BAG: Bryce Molder at the Frys.com Open:
Driver: Titleist 909D3 9.5º (Mitsubishi Diamana Prototype)
3-wood: Titleist 909F2 13.5º (Mitsubishi Diamana White 83)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 20º (Fujikura Speeder 904)
Irons: Titleist CB (712 Series) 3-9 (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 48º, TVD54º, TVD60º (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2.7 SS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x