Mid-season equipment changes are fairly uncommon. While they do happen from time-to-time, you have to go back to 2013 when Patrick Reed made the jump from Nike Golf to Callaway at the AT&T Byron Nelson to find a high-profile name that made wholesale club changes during a critical juncture in the TOUR season.
Reed wasn't a household name at the time of his equipment switch but started to make a name for himself late in the season when he defeated Jordan Spieth in a sudden-death playoff at the Wyndham Championship.
Charl Schwartzel, on the other hand, has been a household name since his 2011 Masters victory. In the last nine months, the South African has recorded three worldwide wins and finished inside the top-25 in his last five starts.
Even with his recent success, Schwartzel sent shockwaves through the equipment industry on Tuesday when it was announced he would be departing Nike for Parsons Xtreme Golf, agreeing to terms on a multi-year deal that will see him play the company's clubs for the first time this week at Royal Troon.
“From clubs to club maker, I feel like PXG is behind me,” Schwartzel said in a release. “They have taken an interest in all aspects of my game and are committed to helping me play the best golf of my life. I had the opportunity to speak with Bob Parsons, and his enthusiasm for the game of golf and golf equipment is infectious.”
Bob Parsons, PXG's founder and CEO, tweeted the signing news at 3:45 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, signaling the end of what has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for both player and equipment manufacturer.
Parsons told PGATOUR.COM that Schwartzel's camp reached out to PXG nearly two weeks ago to talk about the company's equipment. The two spent time talking about a variety of topics, in addition to golf clubs.
"He's basically just a really good dude," Parsons said. "I enjoyed chatting with him. I'd say of our conversations on the phone, probably 25 percent of the time had to do with us actually working together. Most of it was about what he likes to do and just getting to know him."
"I didn't think it was going to come together this quickly. I knew there was a possibility that he could be playing our clubs and wearing our colors at The Open, but it was certainly quick and all came together."
According to Parsons, Schwartzel became aware of PXG's equipment through talking with current staffers on TOUR, and didn't start testing PXG clubs until last week. He had the opportunity to play with them for a few days in Scotland and ultimately decided to put them in play for the year's third major.
The decision to switch equipment the week of a major came as a surprise to Parsons, who confirmed there was no pushback from PXG to make the switch official this week.
"We didn't ask him to (play our equipment) at the Open," Parsons said. "That was his call. But we're certainly glad he's putting it in play."
Schwartzel, who's currently No. 21 in the Official World Golf Ranking, will use an 0811X Prototype driver, 0311 3- and 5-irons, 0311T 6-PW and an 0311T 54-degree wedge.
The nine PXG clubs in Schwartzel's bag will increase as he spends more time with the equipment. Other PXG staffers, including defending Open champion Zach Johnson, took similar approaches, adding the woods and irons early on before eventually filling out the rest of the bag.
In addition to his PXG clubs, Schwartzel will most likely use a Nike 3-wood and wedge, Callaway lob wedge and PING putter this week. He's also been testing Titleist's Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.