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May 23 2012

5:28 PM

The hat count and a new app from Nike

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Jason Dufner gave Titleist an eighth win this season, by one man's unofficial count.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

Who could have imagined at the start of the season that the flagship Titleist staff player at the end of May would be … Jason Dufner?

With his win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship on top of last month’s breakthrough at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Dufner became the second two-time winner this season. The first, Hunter Mahan, is a Ping staff player.

Which company has had the better year on the PGA TOUR? Every equipment manufacturer uses different criteria to determine supremacy, from boasting the most balls used on TOUR (Titleist) to the most drivers (TaylorMade). But not every player who has a Titleist ball is a full Titleist endorser, and so on.

My unscientific formula involves counting hats. If a player is wearing a logo on his hat, he’s basically that company’s guy (the logo isn’t always prominent; Rickie Fowler’s hats have Cobra on the back). By that count, Titleist has seven wins so far this season and Ping has five. If you want to give Ping extra points for Bubba Watson at the Masters, that’s your call.

Here’s my chart for the season’s first 22 events; we’ll revisit it again in a few months.

2012 PGA TOUR wins by hat

Titleist 7 Jason Dufner (2), Steve Stricker, Kyle Stanley, Bill Haas, Rory McIlroy, Ben Curtis
Ping 5 Hunter Mahan (2), Mark Wilson, Bubba Watson, John Huh
Bridgestone 2 Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar
Nike 2 Tiger Woods, Carl Pettersson
TaylorMade 2 Johnson Wagner, Justin Rose
Callaway 1 Phil Mickelson
Cleveland 1 George McNeill
Cobra 1 Rickie Fowler
Mizuno 1 Luke Donald

NEW APP ON TAP: Nike Golf today announced on Tuesday a new, free app called NG360 to help golfers track their rounds, improve their swings with coaches’ input and find golf-specific workouts.

“It’s about knowing your game to better your performance,” Nike Golf marketing director Nate Randle said. “The NG360 App lets golfers look at their game through a 360-degree lens. This is only the beginning of amazing things to come from Nike Golf as it relates to digital sport and the experience on and off the course.”

Golfers can track rounds including stats with the “My Game” function and get personal coaching from Nike staff members that are PGA professionals through video uploaded with the “My Swing” tool. The “My Body” section helps golfers get into shape through Nike Golf’s partnership with the Gray Institute, a leader in applied functional science.

Of course, the app also allows browsing through Nike Golf products, with recommendations available from Nike staff PGA pros. The NG360 app is free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch. View a video about it here.

BITS: Vijay Singh will have a Yes! Sally belly-length putter in the bag at Colonial … TaylorMade is sending an adjustable belly-putter fitting tool to its suppliers to better help fit golfers for the bellies.

WINNER’S BAG: Dufner at the HP Byron Nelson Championship:
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (Mitsubishi Diamana ‘ahina 60X shaft, 9.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (13.5 degrees) and 906 F2 (18 degrees)
Hybrids: Titleist 910H (19 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (54, 60 degrees) 
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Prototype 
Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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