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Equipment Report
  • EQUIPMENT

    Equipment roundup: AT&T Byron Nelson

  • Nick Watney saw good results with a new Nike driver he put in his bag at the AT&T Byron Nelson. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)Nick Watney saw good results with a new Nike driver he put in his bag at the AT&T Byron Nelson. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Nick Watney posted his second top-10 finish of the season at the AT&T Byron Nelson with a new driver in the bag. In search of a driver that spun less than his Vapor Speed, Watney gave the company's Vapor Pro a try at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas and saw immediate results.

In addition to the T10 finish, Watney ended the tournament inside the top-5 in driving distance (306.5 yards).

The 460cc Vapor Pro has a pear-shaped profile and feature's two key technologies — a re-engineered Compression Channel, and FlyBeam reinforced Covert Cavity Back design.

The variable-profile Compression Channel on Vapor Pro was last seen on Nike's VR Pro driver lineup a few years ago. The channel on the sole of the driver improves the spring-like effect across the entire face, especially on off-center hits.

The channel was positioned closer to the leading edge and is wider in the heel and toe to improve forgiveness and generate higher ball speeds on shots that don't hit the center of the face.

The Covert Cavity design was improved with the addition of two silver FlyBeams that tie the sole and the crown together, making the rear portion of the club head more stable.

Together, the Compression Channel and FlyBeam Technology work together to store impact energy in the channel and face for increased ball speeds and distance.

Clubs in the nick of time: Last-minute equipment changes are nothing new on the PGA TOUR. With the equipment trucks on site Monday through Wednesday, most requests can be handled in a matter of minutes. But on occasion, a request comes after the trucks head down the road to the next TOUR event.

When Derek Ernst broke his PING S55 8-iron on a tree root during the second round, PING's WRX team had to move quickly to get the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship winner a new 8-iron (D-2 swingweight, Blue Dot lie angle). After building a replacement iron in 38 minutes, the club was shipped for Saturday delivery. Ernst received the club before his third round tee time and went on to finish T-46.

Vaughn Taylor didn't break an iron, but he faced an equally pressing equipment conundrum when his clubs went missing on Tuesday afternoon. Taylor arrived in Dallas hoping to qualify for the AT&T Byron Nelson. After waiting for his number to be called on Tuesday, Taylor decided to catch a flight to North Carolina for the Web.com's Rex Hospital Open where he was guaranteed a spot.

After checking his bags, Taylor realized his connecting flight in Atlanta was canceled. His clubs, however, were already en route to Atlanta. As luck would have it, Taylor managed to get a spot in the AT&T Byron Nelson field due to player withdrawals.

In need of a set of clubs for Wednesday's practice round, TaylorMade Tour reps went to work building Taylor a brand new set of woods, irons and wedges.

Thanks to TaylorMade's curing cells, which allow each club to be heated to 325 degrees and cured with 24 hour epoxy in 2 minutes and 45 second, Taylor had a brand new set that was ready for the course in just 51 minutes.

Taylor managed to get in two rounds with the clubs before his gamer set arrived on Wednesday evening. He shot even-par and missed the cut by one shot.

Woodland's ace: Heavy rains forced tournament officials to convert the par-4 14th hole at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas into a 104-yard par-3 prior to the start of the second round. Gary Woodland made the most of the change, recording a hole-in-one with Callaway's Chrome Soft Prototype ball.

Used by six Callaway staffers, the prototype model has all the same ingredients as the retail version with a different level of spin on short iron shots. Woodland has been using the ball for most of the season and prefers the ball due to the spin he gets with it around the greens.

Divots: Charl Schwartzel swapped his Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour driver for a 10.5-degree Vapor Pro (Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei 70X shaft) after seeing an increase in launch (two degrees) and carry distance (10 yards) during testing. ... Danny Lee shelved his Callaway XR Pro driver for the company's Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond. Lee noted the new driver helped him avoid the left miss.

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