Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed made changes this week
November 02, 2015
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed switched his driver and 3-wood at the CIMB Classic. (Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy opened the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season at the Frys.com Open with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana prototype driver shaft. Two weeks later at the Turkish Airlines Open, McIlroy was spotted with a new Nike Vapor Fly prototype driver and RZN prototype golf ball.
Nike's Vapor Fly driver has a similar look to the Vapor Pro driver McIlroy used most recently and features the company's FlyBeam reinforced Covert Cavity Back design, and a re-engineered Compression Channel.
If the FlyBeam technology is anything like the version in Vapor Pro, it ties the sole and the crown together, making the rear portion of the club head more stable.
The Compression Channel is 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 two key differences are a blue crown and the addition of a new material in the heel and toe of the sole.
McIlroy also confirmed after the first round that he was using a RZN prototype golf ball for the first time in competition.
"I'm playing a new ball this week, which is a little softer and is a little more responsive around the greens, which I feel has definitely helped this week," McIlroy said.
Justin Thomas' 915D4 driver: A majority of Titleist staffers use one of two 915 driver models: 915D2 or 915D3. However, there are a handful of players that prefer something with a more specific head shape and spin characteristics.
One of those players is Justin Thomas, who started using Titleist's 915D4 driver during the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season. The 915D4 appeared on the USGA's list of conforming driver heads last summer — along with a 400cc 915D5 — and has been used by a few players on TOUR, including Thomas.
Intended for players that want to reduce spin, the driver has a SureFit Tour weight in the sole that's positioned further forward than the 915D2 and 915D3 models. Shifting the CG position allows the driver to produce 250-300 rpm less spin than the 915D3, while still maintaining a high MOI and stability on off-center shots.
The 450cc head is slightly smaller than the 460cc 915D2 (full pear profile) and 10cc larger than the 460cc 915D3. According to Titleist, the profile and face height are comparable to the 915D3; however, the 915D4 is designed with more curvature across the crown to "achieve desired acoustic requirements for sound and feel." The extra curvature also creates a slightly round look at address.
Thomas ranked 15th in driving distance last season (303.2 yards) with the D4 head. While it was initially designed as a TOUR-only model, Titleist recently launched the driver at retail through the company's MOTO (Made Only To Order) program.
Patrick Reed swaps driver, fairway wood: Patrick Reed made his first start of the new TOUR season with a new driver and fairway wood. Reed swapped his Callaway XR Pro driver and Great Big Bertha 3-wood for the company's Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond model.
Reed's 9-degree driver has a 44.5-inch Aldila Rogue 125MSI 70TX shaft and is set to the draw directional bias with –1 loft adjustability. The gravity core is set in the down position to reduce spin.
“Patrick loves the sound and the fact that this driver does not have too much lateral movement throughout the flight," Callaway Tour rep Adam Bilbe said. "Even when he mishits the ball slightly it still flies great.”
The 14-degree fairway wood has a 42.75-inch Graphite Design Tour AD GP-8X shaft and is set to a neutral directional bias and standard loft adjustability. The 16-gram weight is positioned in the front of the clubhead with a 3-gram weight in the back.
“Switching into a new (3-wood) head and shaft gave him the visual lower flight Patrick prefers as well as the distance he wanted to carry the ball," Bilbe said.
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