Sergio Garcia closed out 2017 as an equipment free agent. When the calendar turns to 2018, the reigning Masters champion should be unveiled as the newest member of Callaway's Tour staff once new equipment contracts go into effect on Jan. 1.
Garcia has remained coy about his status since he parted ways with TaylorMade after 15 years. Just last month in Italy, Garcia said he would "probably start testing some new things and see what's kind of out there that drives me and go from there. Then at the end of the year, we'll make a decision and move forward."
Since the Dell Technologies Championship, Garcia has slowly added new Callaway products, including a Toulon Design putter and Callaway prototype wedge. In a surprise move, he accelerated the equipment transition process last week at the DP World Tour Championship with a new Callaway GBB Epic driver and Apex MB prototype irons that were spotted in the bag for the first time.
I think it’s safe to say Sergio Garcia is signing with Callaway. I 👀 Apex MB irons and an Epic driver. pic.twitter.com/GwsyAWVTrE— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) November 15, 2017
While the driver appeared to be a stock GBB Epic head, Garcia's irons were stamped with his personal logo on the toe.
If that wasn't enough evidence to confirm Garcia's pending arrival, he also tagged Callaway's Twitter account in a tweet that included that rest of his current sponsors, following a T4 finish in Dubai.
Garcia and Callaway will have to wait until the beginning of the year to make things official, but it would appear his landing spot is all but assured.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedge makes appearance: Dustin Johnson had equipment forums buzzing several weeks ago when he let slip he was testing a new high toe wedge from TaylorMade. Based on his glowing review, many were surprised when Johnson opted to keep the wedge in the locker and stick with his usual Milled Grind setup.
So this is what DJ was talking about a few weeks ago... https://t.co/1ObJVl2bAQ— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) November 16, 2017
Instead of Johnson getting to do the unveiling honors, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose became the first two staffers to break in the new wedge at the DP World Tour Championship. Based on the wedge photo posted on social media by Rose, the Milled Grind "Hi-Toe" has a distinct high toe that's reminiscent of the classic Ping Eye 2 and, more recently, Callaway's Mack Daddy PM Grind popularized by Phil Mickelson.
The three openings in the back of the head likely remove weight that's repositioned in the toe, shifting the center of gravity even higher in the head for open-face shots.
Cook stretches fairway wood: The rise in popularity of larger-headed fairway woods has seen TOUR players embrace the technology in recent years. Austin Cook became the latest winner to have one in the bag at The RSM Classic.
The TOUR rookie is one of four PING staffers using the company's G400 Stretch 3-wood. With 13 degrees of loft, the fairway wood features a slightly larger overall head shape — 193cc vs. 184cc — for those who primarily use a fairway wood off the tee. Compared to the standard 3-wood, the CG weight was repositioned towards the back of the head to produce low-spin characteristics.
For Cook, the club gives him another option to use off the tee on tight driving holes where driver isn't necessarily the play. The club came in handy at Sea Island, where Cook won by four shots and ranked 12th in Strokes Gained: Off the tee (plus 2.325).
Kirk's strong finish sans gear contract: Along with Brooks Koepka's nine-shot win at the Dunlop Phoenix Open, Chris Kirk put together a strong week on the course without an equipment contract. Kirk split from PXG at the beginning of the 2017-18 TOUR season to play a mixed bag of equipment.
His T-4 finish at the RSM Classic was his best showing since a T2 at the 2016 Sanderson Farms Championship. During the fall portion of the TOUR season, Kirk made four cuts in five starts. The only noticeable change he made at Sea Island was a driver swap from Callaway's GBB Epic to TaylorMade's M1 2017.