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February 16 2011

11:15 PM

Equipment roundup: PGA TOUR

D.A. Points turned in the wedge shot of the year so far on TOUR at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, using a 52-degree Ping Tour-W wedge for his Sunday holeout eagle on the 14th at Pebble.

Suffice to say, his gap wedge delivered better last week than he remembered on a similar shot a few years prior.

“It was a couple years ago, I was playing pretty well here and I was in the Top-10 and I was making a lot of

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A 52-degree Ping Tour-W wedge made D.A. Points' Sunday at Pebble Beach.

birdies,” Points said. “I came down there and I had a gap wedge, similar kind of shot and I spun it left off the green and rolled down the hill under the tree and I made double bogey.

“Most of the time we are worried about putting too much spin on it. This year we are trying to get as much spin on it so we can hold it up there.”

-- Speaking of ball spin, Nike introduced a new TOUR-level golf ball Tuesday, the 20XI. The conventional rubber core is replaced with a resin core, engineered to produce more distance and control. Nike says the ball has perimeter weighting between the lighter core and heavier outer layers.

The ball, which comes in distance and spin models, is being used by Stephen Ames, Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Jamie Lovemark, Francesco Molinari and Carl Pettersson, among others.

Whether Tiger Woods switches to the 20XI remains to be seen, though he is said to be considering it. He still plays the Nike Tour One.

-- Golfweek’s Gene Yasuda writes that Wilson Golf spent $4 million on research and development last year – five times what it spent five years ago – in order to help implement to a two-year product cycle. The company’s marketing message has been simplified, touting 61 major championships won with Wilson irons, and Kevin Streelman has been added to a stable of TOUR pros that includes Ricky Barnes and Padraig Harrington.

Wilson posted an entertaining YouTube video of commercial outtakes including Barnes. Look for the wedge-bouncing ball trick, similar to the old Woods Nike commercial, here.

-- What was in amateurs’ bags at the AT&T? TaylorMade said its R11 was the No. 1 driver, with 24 in play.

Bill Murray won the Pro-Am with new Titleist Vokey wedges. Check out the BM stamps on his custom clubs here .

--Odyssey just released their D.A.R.T. putters and E. Michael Johnson of Golf World writes that the company is making a handful of “TOUR-only” options including a mid-length version with a 400-gram head, a long version with a 450-gram head, a black PVD version and one with a red D.A.R.T. alignment device. Some of those putters may be put in play at Riviera.

-- In a Masters conference call this week, Phil Mickelson lent some insight into his bag.

On putting two drivers into play at Augusta:

“That particular year, I believe, was one of the first years, if not the first year, that the golf course was lengthened extraordinarily. I think that was the first year that a lot of length was added; tee boxes were moved back quite a few yards. And to combat that, I tried to get a driver that I could hit an initial 20 yards.

“Although I called one a draw driver and one a fade driver, the long driver was the driver that I drew. But I also hit it 20 to 25 yards longer than I did my regular, was a longer shaft and so forth. And I believe that it played a big factor in me winning the golf tournament.

“Now the driver that I have, is very similar to that distance. It might only be five or seven yards shorter than that driver, and so there's really not a benefit to putting another longer driver in play. And so that frees me up to add another club.”

On his wedges:

“I've set my wedges now -- I used to have as much as five wedges, as you know. And what I did was took the gap and sand wedge and kind of created a club in between.

“So every week now, I am set with four wedges. I have a 64 and a 60. I have a strong sand wedge. Which is about 54, 53 1/2, 54 degrees, and then I have a pitching wedge that's a 47 1/2, 48. So that allows me to add some other clubs longer in the bag.

“And usually at Augusta, I don't have a hybrid. I usually carry a 3-iron. And the reason for that is, if I'm not able to reach the par 5s, like 13 and 15, with a 3-iron or less, I usually don't want to go for it, anyways.

“And second, the additional length on No. 4 puts me a lot of times right between clubs, between a 4-iron and sometimes a 3-iron. And so having a 3-iron in the bag at Augusta is what has helped me the last couple of years in some of those in-between shots from 220 to 245.

“So that is usually how my setup, club setup, is. And I no longer play with five wedges. I've had four wedges now and the same wedges for the last couple of years.”

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