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July 13 2011

4:49 PM

Stricker’s sticks, putters and a fun logo

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Steve Stricker's early-season switches have paid off with two wins in the last six weeks.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

A switch to some new equipment at the start of the season is continuing to pay off big for Steve Stricker.

The Wisconsin native and Titleist player picked up 710 AP2 irons and the new-generation ProV1x ball months ago, and now has two Midwest-based wins to show for it – the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance in June and last week’s John Deere Classic.

That’s also all the more reason not to make another switch, to the new 712 AP2 irons, as some other Titleist TOUR pros have. Nick Watney picked up the clubs and almost immediately won at the AT&T National two weeks ago.

But the way he’s playing now, and on the eve of the season’s third major, Stricker’s bag at the moment is on lockdown.

“I hit them and I really liked them,” said Stricker of the new irons, “but I want to hit them some more at home, so probably after the British I'll give them some more time to hit.

“I changed earlier this year to a different set of irons, different shaft, different ball early in the year. So yeah, I'm open for change, but I want to make sure and have the repetitions in with them before I make the change.”

BLANKS SHOOTING: Kris Blanks came to the John Deere Classic near the bottom of the TOUR’s putting stats but finished T10 in putts per GIR for the week after going back to an old Scotty Cameron Del Mar model with a custom slant neck.

“That makes it hang a little more towards the sky. Most putters will hang at a quarter,” said Blanks, who led after the first round at TPC Deere Run and finished T12. “This one’s a little more face-down so it doesn’t rotate as much through the hitting zone.”

Ironically, Blanks made the switch after using Ping’s iPhone putting app, Golf World Monday reports.

CRACKING THE CODE: Since 2003, TaylorMade has designed special logos for each of the major

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championships. Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen will carry this logo (at right) on their bags at Royal St. George’s, filled with minutiae about the event and the course.

Can you figure out all the details? We’ll give you one – the “V” and “6” in the weathervane (since British Opens always have wind) stand for Harry Vardon and his record six titles.

Read about the rest of the logo here.

CLARKE’S CLASSIC: Scotty Cameron putter junkies will enjoy the saga about Darren Clarke’s old friend, a 1997 Titleist Teryllium Santa Fe that the Northern Irishman used for a while, then parked for years, then exhumed in May to win in Spain.

Clarke brought the putter to Royal St. George’s this week to hand off to Titleist reps, who will take it back to the home office in California to restore. The putter was one of Cameron’s first with an insert made of Teryllium, a copper-colored metal that is soft but expensive.

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