By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Titleist is debuting some new firepower this week at the AT&T National, namely its 913 series of drivers.
The company hasn’t introduced a new driver in two years, but the 913 is the next step in the “900” family (with “9” being its designation for metalwoods and “13” for the model year), with a few subtle differences from the 910 series.
Titleist loyalists will notice the striping on the sole and new markings on the face, as well as a weight cartridge at the rear of the club. The cartridges can be swapped out to optimize launch conditions, and like the 910 models the new 913 has the SureFit Tour hosel to adjust lie and loft.
Like the 910, the 913 has a D2 and D3 model, with the D2 being slightly bigger.
Bobby Gates took the first swings with the club on Monday at the range at Congressional Country Club, with Titleist players Seung-Yul Noh, Jimmy Walker and Brendan Steele also getting licks in. Rory McIlroy has one in Ireland this week, where he’ll play in the European Tour’s Irish Open.
The clubs will go on sale to the public sometime in the fall, retailing for around $399.
MR. 59: After dalliances with several flatsticks, Stuart Appleby returned to the Odyssey White Hot XG 330 mallet that he shot 59 with at The Greenbrier Classic in 2010.
“I really had to assess what was going on in my game and where I had to improve,” he said. “I was chasing around, moving putters. Didn’t know when I was going to hit the hole. It just started sapping the energy.”
Sure enough, he finished T18 at the Travelers for his first top-20 finish of the season.
COLORFUL: More of Callaway’s udesign-inspired Razr Fit drivers are making the rounds on the PGA TOUR. At the Travelers, J.J. Killeen used a purple one in honor of his TCU roots, while Danny Lee used a blue driver that was actually built for Fredrik Jacobson, but the Swede declined to use it in play so Callaway reps gave it to Lee.
WINNER’S BAG: Marc Leishman at the Travelers
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (UST Mamiya AXIVCore, 7.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910F (13.5 degrees)
Hybrid: Mizuno Fli-Hi (18 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-4), MB (5-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (PW, 54, 58 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Mid-slant T10
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Eight PGA TOUR rookies have stepped off of the golf course and into the world of high-end fashion for the new issue of ForbesLife magazine .
Tommy Biershenk, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, Gary Christian, Harris English, J.J. Killeen, Danny Lee and Jamie Lovemark had the opportunity to demonstrate their modeling ability in designs by some of the world’s most renowned fashion manufacturers -- including Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex and Audemars Piguet, among others.
The photo shoot took place at the Fairmont Princess Hotel, adjacent to TPC Scottsdale during the week of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with acclaimed French photographer Antoine Verglas capturing the images that were styled by Joseph DeAcetis, the magazine’s style editor.
The 10-page spread, entitled Clubhouse Confidential ( click here for more ), coincides with the relaunch of ForbesLife , which for the first time will be offered on newsstands across the nation and also be available in replica-form for nooks, kindles and iPads.
Verglas, who is based in New York, is recognized for introducing the “Verglas Signature” to glamour photography in the 1990s, an intimate style of capturing a personality of his subjects. His work has appeared in all the leading fashion magazines.
“I think it's fun,” Verglas said of the rookie photo shoot. “They could be models, you know. They did great. They have good looking personalities and are great looking guys and the pictures were really good.”
DeAcetis noted that ForbesLife was going under a redesign and that the idea behind the photo shoot was to reach a new, younger audience. “These athletes transcend any economic level,” he said. “They're great players, and this is what men are interested in. We have a high standard here at ForbesLife that we have to convey and I think that these guys did an amazing job.”
DeAcetis said they worked extensively on matching colors and sizes, and then matching them to ideal locations at the Fairmont Princess. “The shoot is shorter jackets and tighter pants; it's more modern, the cut,” he said. “And that's what these guys are, 21st century men. So it has a little more life to it than a traditional suit or traditional jacket. And that's what these guys embody … the next expectations, they're the next big players.”
Cauley said he had a lot of fun participating in the shoot. “It definitely was my first experience with something like that,” he said. “They dressed me up in really nice clothes and did my hair a little bit differently. We’ll see how it turns out, but I trust what they were doing and I’m sure it will all look great.”
English agreed. "It was crazy, I've never done the modeling experience before,” he said. “It was cool. These are pretty sweet clothes and it was fun. I could definitely do it again; it wasn't bad at all."
Christian, the oldest among the participants at age 40, added, “I enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again. It was interesting to me as an arty guy how the photographer set up shots and how much of a perfectionist the stylist was.”
PGA TOUR Entertainment was on hand to film the photo shoot and will feature it on an upcoming edition of Inside the PGA TOUR on Golf Channel in early April.
PGATOUR.COM’s countdown of the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2012 begins today.
Each day, we’ll also post a note in TOUR Report with the latest list of players.
That will give you an opportunity to weigh in on how you think those players will perform next year – and whether you think we have them ranked too low or too high. After all, just like snowflakes, no two lists will be the same.
So for the debut of this year’s list, here are Nos. 91-100. Click on each player’s link for his preview page, including this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list .
Don’t forget to let us know what you think.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Ben Crane is never going to be included in a discussion about long bombers on the PGA TOUR.
For the season, Crane is 145th in driving distance at 284.9 yards a pop. But he’s found a little more lately
thanks to a new shaft from Titleist, with winning results.
Crane won last week at The McGladrey Classic with his always-solid putter leading the way (his Strokes-Gained Putting figure was 2.023, second-best in the field), but he also was 21st in driving (288.0-yard average), a ranking not often associated with the Oregonian.
Crane’s history of back injuries hasn’t helped his distance, but work with the Titleist Performance Institute has helped him to regain some ball speed. And during a recent fitting session with Larry Bobka, Titleist’s VP of Club Promotion, Ben put a new, lighter Bassara W 50 for Titleist shaft in his 910D2 driver.
Validation came instantly – his first top 10 since April, a T10 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. In the firm-and-fast Las Vegas desert he averaged 313.1 off the tee, tied for 21st in the field. Then last week, with the eye-catching red shaft, he won at Sea Island.
Titleist said the Bassara W, developed by Mitsubishi Rayon and weighing in at 53 grams, is one of the lightest shafts to ever win on TOUR.
"We built this particular driver configuration based on a conversation with (TPI co-founder) Greg Rose and Ben's desire for more distance," Bobka said in the Titleist blog. "Being a straight hitter with a delicate back, Ben needed a driver that created what I call 'easy distance.' "
Crane took loft off his previous driver configuration, going to 7.5 degrees, which combined with the longer (46 inch) and lighter shaft created better launch conditions and more distance.
NEW OLD PUTTER: Trevor Immelman finished fifth at The McGladrey, leading the field in putts per round (27.5 average) and putts per GIR (1.667) with a belly version of the Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball. It was his third different Odyssey model in as many weeks, though he also won with the same model at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany in 2004.
RUNNING AWAY: Fred Couples won the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship by seven shots, the largest margin on Tour this year. He wore his familiar Ecco Golf Street Premier hybrid shoes – without socks.
RUNNING AWAY II: Last week’s Nationwide Tour event also featured a seven-shot rout, by Jason Kokrak at the Miccosukee Championship. He plays the Srixon Z-Star XV ball, and in moving up to fourth on the money list gives Srixon two top representatives of the Z-Star. Nationwide money leader J.J. Killeen also plays it.
NEW CLASSIC: Cleveland Golf has released an updated version of its popular 588 wedges, and David Toms was spotted with them in the bag at The McGladrey. Read more here.
WINNER’S BAG: Crane at The McGladrey
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (7.5°) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara W 50 shaft
Fairway woods: TaylorMade V Steel (15°) Titleist 910F (17°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 93 shafts
Hybrid: Titleist 910H (21°) with a UST Mamiya ProForce AXIVCore 100 shaft
Irons: Titleist AP2 (5-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design (51°), Spin Milled C-C (55°, 59°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Putter: Odyssey White Hot #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x