Breaking down the balls used at the Presidents Cup
3 Min Read
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One of the advantages of being the Presidents Cup’s home captain is the ability to dictate the order of the proceedings.
Given that choice, Love decided to start this year’s Presidents Cup with Foursomes play. Because of its unique nature, Foursomes, otherwise known as alternate shot, is the most intriguing of the formats used in international team competition. For the most part, players can go about their business as usual in Four-balls and Singles, playing their own ball until it is holed.
Foursomes requires a higher level of coordination, communication and strategy. Captains and players must set their strategy from the first tee, deciding which player will tee off on even-numbered holes and which will tee off on the odd-numbered holes. But even the best-laid plans can go awry; several times has a player begged off the assignment of teeing off on No. 1 because of the pressure inherent to these international competitions.
There are many factors that go into forming a successful Foursomes team, and the golf ball is one of them. That variable has decreased in significance over the years as the competitions have gone away from the one-ball rule that required teams to stick to a single brand for the entire match. That often required these finely-tuned players to adjust to a new ball and its launch conditions and created a power dynamic when deciding whose ball was used. The simplest answer was usually to pair players who used the same, or similar, balls.
The one-ball rule is not in effect this week. Teams will be able to switch their ball each hole. They’ll usually defer to the player who is hitting the approach shot because of the importance of having the proper spin and trajectory on those shots. But that still means a player will need to tee off, and possibly hit short-game shots, with a ball that may not be perfectly-suited for him.
Titleist leads the way with 17 of the 24 players at Quail Hollow using its balls, though different models of the ProV1 that have different characteristics. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both play the Pro V1x, adding another item to the list of reasons why they are a perfectly compatible pairing. Potential partners Kevin Kisner and Billy Horschel both play the Pro V1.
On the International side, Tom Kim and Sungjae Im both play the Pro V1x; that combined with their good friendship makes them a good fit for the International Team.
To prepare you for Thursday’s Foursomes session, we’ve compiled a list of the balls used by every player at Quail Hollow and description of their characteristics.
TaylorMade TP5: TaylorMade’s softest, highest-spinning TOUR ball. Most workable, mid-launching offering. Highest spinning off wedges.
Callaway Chrome Soft X: Callaway's flagship TOUR ball used by the majority of its staff, it features a higher spin profile greenside and ultimate wind stability while being fast off the driver.
Callaway Chrome Soft X prototype: The next generation of the Chrome Soft X.
Titleist Pro V1: Titleist’s softest TOUR ball. Lower flying and spinning than Pro V1x.
Titleist Pro V1x: Firmer and higher-launching than Pro V1. Pro V1x also spins more than Pro V1.
Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot: A lower-flying, lower-spinning version of Pro V1 with a similar feel and greenside performance.
Srixon Z-Star XV: Srixon's firmer, lower-spinning TOUR ball. High greenside spin.
CALLAWAYChrome Soft X – Sam Burns Chrome Soft X prototype – Xander Schauffele
TITLEIST Pro V1 – Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Scottie Scheffler Pro V1x – Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas Pro V1 Left Dot – Tony Finau, Cameron Young
CALLAWAYChrome Soft X prototype – Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Si Woo Kim
TITLEIST Pro V1 – Corey Conners, Mito Pereira, Adam Scott Pro V1x – Cam Davis, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, K.H. Lee Pro V1x Left Dot – Sebastian Munoz