May 09, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Rodgers opted for the Cardinal red swoosh Nike ball at the Wells Fargo Championship. (Courtesy of @PRodgersGolf)
When Rory McIlroy showed up at the Masters with a custom Nike RZN Tour Platinum ball, most assumed it was made for the the year's first major — which was correct to some extent.
What didn't become clear until this week was that Nike would roll out custom RZN balls that had a colored camo swoosh for every play in the Wells Fargo Championship field.
In addition to McIlroy, who swapped the green swoosh for blue, Patrick Rodgers (golf ball pictured), Jamie Lovemark, Tony Finau, Paul Casey, Francesco Molinari, Scott Pinckney and Jhonattan Vegas all chose to play an RZN Tour Black or Platinum ball with a different colored swoosh.
Rodgers opted for "Cardinal red" — for Stanford University — while others went with green, blue or pink. Scott Pinckney was the only Nike athlete who chose the pink camo swoosh in honor of Mother's Day.
The four-piece ball features Nike's new RZN 4.0 core, made from a polymer resin material that's lighter than conventional rubber. Compared to its predecessor, the RZN 4.0 core is 5 percent softer and 10 percent larger, which increases Moment of Inertia (MOI) and mis-hit performance.
RZN Tour comes in two versions: the mid-spin Tour Platinum and a four-piece Tour Black that has a slightly higher compression (79 versus 74) and trajectory than Platinum.
Hahn's prototype driver: James Hahn's win at the Wells Fargo Championship gave Parsons Xtreme Golf its first PGA TOUR victory. Nearly every club in Hahn's bag is available to consumers, with two exceptions: his 0811X prototype driver and 47-degree 0311 Milled wedge.
The driver is the bigger story as it was introduced for the first time at the RBC Heritage. A quick glance at the head reveals an almost identical shape to that of the standard 0811 driver available to consumers.
However, there are a few subtle differences. The 460cc prototype is 400-500 rpm lower spinning with slightly more draw bias. The driver also has a deeper profile, from front-to-back, and offers fewer weight-adjusting screws — 11 instead of 16 — in the sole.
The precision weighting system in the sole runs along the perimeter and can accept either Tungsten or Titanium weights. Depending on the configuration of the Tungsten and Titanium weights, the center of gravity and shot shape can be dialed in for optimal performance.
Another new addition to the driver is Aldila's Rogue M-AX prototype shaft. The shaft manufacturer has yet to release details on the new profile. The words "Multi Axial" below the shaft logo likely mean it was designed to reduce torque stress that occurs during the swing, similar to the original Rogue that used pitch fibers to reinforce the tip section of the shaft without adding extra weight.
Hahn ranked T-20 in driving accuracy (57 percent) and T-23 in driving distance (290.6 yards) with the new driver/shaft setup.
Mickelson finds an Anser: During Phil Mickelson's dramatic win at the 2013 Open Championship, he used a bag setup that included only one non-Callaway club — a 17-degree PING Anser hybrid that first went in play earlier that year.
The club was eventually pushed out of the bag, but like the original TaylorMade RBZ 3-wood Mickelson started using again at the Valero Texas Open, the hybrid reappeared after a brief hiatus at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Prior to the tournament in Charlotte, Mickelson had been using an 18-degree Apex hybrid since the Farmers Insurance Open.
Mickelson was spotted using the old hybrid on numerous occasions en route to a T-4 finish — his first top-5 since the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship — at Quail Hollow.
Rose dials in wedges: Justin Rose kept the changes to a minimum in Charlotte. Instead of tinkering with his setup, he spent additional time with his TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF Spin wedges, working on squaring the face through impact.
According to TaylorMade, the goal of the lengthy sessions was to develop "a limited series of swing paths" that he could routinely pull off during the course of competition.
The extra time on the chipping green paid off as Rose posted a third-place finish — his best of the 2015-16 TOUR season.