September 21 2011
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
If adidas Golf was looking for a pure PGA TOUR test in its new spikeless STREET golf shoes, it got one during the BMW Championship.
The Rees Jones-redesigned layout at Cog Hill was long and tough, then cold and wet weather added to the challenge. Was this a good time to be shunning spikes?
For Justin Rose, the answer was “absolutely.”
Rose put the shoes in play for the first time in competition at the BMW, after having foot issues during practice rounds. Adidas Golf vice president Kevin Ross said Rose’s feet are somewhat less flexible than other players’, and that the STREET shoes provided more freedom in movement.
“There was no hesitation (from the company) putting Justin in that shoe,” Ross said. “For him, it was a big decision to wear a shoe in that type of weather.”
NBC’s Johnny Miller wondered on the air whether Rose was getting enough traction, but Rose’s play provided the answer.
The STREET shoes, available in select U.S. markets in November, are just that – meant to be worn on and off the course. Adidas says Rose’s win was the first on TOUR for such a shoe. (Fred Couples made waves on the Champions Tour and at the 2010 Masters by wearing ECCO street-style shoes.)
Instead of traditional cleats, the shoe has traction soles with molded studs.
“I think it’s the tip of the iceberg of what players are looking for,” Ross said. “Some players are willing to sacrifice stability for flexibility. Great golfers have great footwork, they know how their feet move.”
Ross said fellow adidas staff player Dustin Johnson called in the wake of Rose’s win, and some shoes were sent to him at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. So who knows, maybe next trend in soft spikes will actually be no spikes at all.
NEW SHOES, BUT NO BELLY: Rose may be a trendsetter in shoes, but he’s not jumping on the belly putter bandwagon, as our Helen Ross wrote. He tinkered with one before the BMW, but stuck with his white Corza Ghost when it counted.
WINNING ROTATION: Webb Simpson sits in the catbird’s seat for the start of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, No. 1 in FedExCup points and therefore having the inside track to the $10 million payout.
He got to that point with a revolving door atop his bag.
Ryan Ballengee wrote that Simpson used a Titleist 909 driver with a UST Mamiya AXIVcore shaft in winning the Wyndham Championship. Then, in winning the Deutsche Bank Championship, he changed to UST VTS Black shafts in his Titleist 910 3- and 5-woods, citing better trajectory control.
At East Lake, he was testing a 910 driver but said he wouldn’t be making that switch on the eve of the crucial FedExCup finale.
“My kind of rule of thumb is if I don't love a club, I don't mind switching even if I play well the week before,”
LONG TOM: Cobra’s latest weapon in the driver distance wars is the Long Tom, a 48-inch all-black driver with a face made from a new titanium alloy that Cobra says is stronger than its previous drivers.
The club weighs just 269 grams and comes with a Grafalloy Blackbird shaft and a Winn Ultra Light/Shorty grip that’s so small as to discourage players from choking down on the club. Not that one would want to choke down on a club that’s four feet long.
The Long Tom will be in stores in late November, while in October the company will release 500 Long Tom RAW models, with no cosmetic or paint treatments to the clubhead. Just in case you’ve been tired of looking at white drivers all year.