By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
One of the year’s better stories on the PGA TOUR was authored last week by Ben Curtis, ending a six-year winless drought on TOUR with a win at the Valero Texas Open.
Curtis was the Cinderella champion won the 2003 British Open (Valero T2 finisher John Huh was 13 years old then) and two events in 2006, then a few years later dropped off the radar. This year he as many starts on the European Tour than the PGA TOUR (three each) before winning in Texas.
In winning by two shots at TPC San Antonio, Curtis had another first of sorts – the first win for Titleist’s AP1 712 irons. Most Titleist players on TOUR play the AP2 irons, which have more of a traditional blade feel and less offset. The AP1 irons have a high-density tungsten sole weight positioned toward the toe, increasing ball speed on off-center hits and reducing twist at impact.
Curtis had a 4-iron through pitching wedge in his AP1 set – which we’ll see a lot more of in the U.S. now that Curtis has winner’s status again on TOUR.
GOLDEN: Ping has enjoyed a great season so far, with wins on TOUR by Mark Wilson (Humana Challenge), John Huh (Mayakoba Golf Classic), Hunter Mahan (World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, Shell Houston Open).
All of its players have a gold-plated replica of their winning putters put in Ping’s vault in Scottsdale, Ariz., and sometimes even more special additions are put in the vault. A double eagle at the Masters would qualify, so a gold S56 4-iron was added to the vault recently in honor of Louis Oosthuizen’s feat. He also received one for his collection.
WEEKENDER: David Duval tested a Callaway Razr Fit driver against a Titleist 910D3 and TaylorMade RBZ last week, with the Callaway going into his bag at Valero at 9.1 degrees loft. He ended up making his first cut of the season after seven misses, and shot his best round on Sunday (71) to finish in a tie for 60th.
BY A HAIR: Amazing how just the slightest adjustments make all the difference for TOUR players. At TPC San Antonio, Derek Lamely thought a flatter lie angle would help to stop losing shots to the left with his 15-degree Callaway Diablo Octane Tour fairway wood . Callaway techs adjusted the angle by one degree – from 59 to 58 – allowing him to hit a baby fade. No more lefts. He finished T35 at Valero, his second-best finish of the season.
WINNER’S BAG: Curtis at the Valero Texas
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (Aldila RIP NV 65X shaft, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910Fd, (Aldila RIP 80X shaft, 13.5 degrees)
Hybrids: Titleist 910H (Aldila hybrid NV 85X shafts; 18, 20 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP1 712 (Dynamic Gold shafts; 4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C 200 (52 degrees), C-C TVD (58 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x