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Equipment Report

    Equipment Roundup: Shell Houston

TaylorMade's Spider Blade putter made its debut at the Shell Houston Open with Fabian Gomez becoming the first to use it in competition on the PGA TOUR during the first round. 

The high-MOI style blade putter features a 130-gram counterbalanced grip that promotes stability and performance. Spider Blade was available for TOUR players in lengths of 36, 37 and 38 inches on the practice green at Redstone Golf Club. Like the rest of the Ghost Tour putter line, Spider Blade features a black True Roll insert and white leading edge that promotes consistent alignment. The putter is being touted as TaylorMade's most stable blade putter ever and will be available at retail in two models -- Spider Blade 12 (L-Neck) and Spider Blade 32 (Short Slant).

Spider Blade was first introduced as a wax model to players last year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and received critical feedback from a number of TaylorMade staffers in the month leading up to its release at the Shell Houston Open, including Dustin Johnson, Sean O'Hair and Justin Rose. 

Rory McIlroy adds second VR_S Covert fairway wood: Rory McIlroy added a third VR_S Covert wood to the bag at the Shell Houston Open, swapping out the VR Pro Limited Edition 5-wood he opened the season with for a VR_S Covert version following a testing session early in the week. McIlroy noted the VR_S Covert's higher trajectory was a big reason for the switch.

In preparation for the Masters, McIlroy also put a new set of VR Pro wedges (54 and 60 degrees) with fresh grooves in play. Nike staffers Carl Pettersson (60-degree) and Russell Henley (60-degree) also received new VR Pro wedges. 

Louis Oosthuizen decides to go with familiar putter grip at the Masters: He didn't have the grip on his putter at the Shell Houston Open, but Louis Oosthuizen will swap out the PING midsize PP58 cord grip for a PING AVS PP58 grip. The reason for the switch? Oosthuizen likes the lighter AVS version on Augusta National's green and had success with it on his putter last year. 

Steve Wheatcroft games Adams Super Idea DHy: Steve Wheatcroft, who had to Monday quality to get in the Shell Houston Open field, became the latest to put Adams Golf's new Super Idea DHy driving hybrid in play. The 21-degree club allowed Wheatcroft to hit the ball high as well as keep it under the wind at blustery Redstone Golf Club. Adams made DHy and the Super 9031 Proto hybrid available to tour staffers for the first time in Houston. 

Hunter Mahan switches shafts in PING G25 3-wood: Less than a month Hunter Mahan swapped shafts in his PING G25 3-wood at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, he made another adjustment at the Shell Houston Open. Still searching for one that allowed him to turn the ball over, Mahan decided on an Aldila Tour Blue X shaft that was a little softer in the handle and produced the shot shape he was looking for.

Bud Cauley makes adjustment to Titleist 913D2 driver: Bud Cauley didn't change drivers in Houston; but he did make a necessary adjustment to his current Titleist 913D2 (7.5 degrees) gamer. 

Cauley felt he was hanging his drives out to the left, so the Titleist Tour team made an adjustment to his SureFit Tour hosel, moving it from B-1 to a neutral A-1 position. The tweak produced a tighter dispersion with a ball flight and launch that Cauley preferred. He finished the week T16, his best finish of the season.

Divots: Justin Hicks became the latest player to switch into TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 driver (9 degrees with a Fujikura Fuel X shaft). ... Bill Haas put a new UST VTS 100g shaft in his Titleist 913Hd hybrid, preferring the ball flight, tighter dispersion and distance with the new combination.