By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
When someone has a prolonged winless drought on the PGA TOUR, the equipment can help tell the story of just how long the drought lasted.
When Sergio Garcia won the 2008 PLAYERS Championship, he was swinging a TaylorMade Tour Burner driver and an R7 5-wood, plus a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter. He’s now a full-line TaylorMade guy (now, as then, one of their flagship TOUR players), having added a Ghost Tour MA-81 putter. The driver is the company’s top-of-the-line R11S.
But the most significant equipment change from Garcia’s win four years ago to his most recent, last week at the Wyndham Championship? His shoes.
Garcia, a longtime metal spikes proponent including during his win at TPC Sawgrass, won at Sedgefield in metal-less shoes. Adidas Golf’s new crossflex, an athletic-style shoe delivering lightweight performance with spikeless traction, not only held up during the wet week at Wyndham but helped Garcia end his winless streak in the U.S.
“When I first tested the new crossflex shoe I didn’t want to take them off,” said Garcia, making just his second TOUR start in the shoes at the Wyndham. “They are by far the most comfortable golf shoe I’ve ever worn; they feel more like a running shoe yet provide great traction on the course.”
Garcia next heads to The Barclays and the FedExCup Playoffs at 33rd in the standings quite confident, um, from head to toe.
PINK POWER: Let’s be honest, Bubba Watson’s target of 300 drives this year at 300 yards or longer wasn’t really a challenge for the TOUR’s leader in driving distance at 315.9 yards.
Still, with four more 300-yard pokes at the Bethpage State Park Black Course, the “Bubba Long in Pink, Driven by Ping” promotion will be complete with $100,000 raised directly off the face of his pink G20 driver.
For each big drive this season in PGA TOUR-sanctioned events, Ping donated $300 to Watson’s charity campaign. The tally is at $88,000 (for 296 drives), plus $10,000 contributed by Ping at the start of the initiative. Then there was the $250,000 Ping contributed from the sale of 5,000 pink G20 drivers to the public.
STATUS QUO: Dicky Pride did some Trackman testing with two set of irons recently, the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC he had used all year and another set with a lighter shaft. The latter set produced longer shots, but Pride – about to make his first start in the FedExCup Playoffs, ranked 79th in points – opted not to change now.
WINNER’S BAG: Garcia at the Wyndham
Driver: TaylorMade R11S (Mitsubishi Diamana, 9 degrees)
Fairway woods: TaylorMade RBZ, 15 degrees; Burner SuperFast 2.0, 18 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB 3-PW
Wedges: TaylorMade ATV (50, 58 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Tour MA-81
Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP