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Report: Tiger to use Bridgestone B330S golf ball, Monster Energy golf bag

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All eyes will be on Tiger Woods this week in the Bahamas, where the 14-time major champion will make his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge. Speculation is rampant about how Woods will play, and also what he will play given Nike’s decision to shutter its golf equipment business in August, making the most famous golfer in the world an equipment free agent.

Woods has had months to test the latest gear, but it’s still not clear if even he is certain what he will use come Thursday. Based on reports, the smart money is on Woods using TaylorMade woods (driver, 3 wood and 5 wood), Nike irons (3-PW), Nike wedges (56 and 60) and the Scotty Cameron putter he trusted for 13 of his 14 major championship wins. We’ll wait to confirm those changes until we arrive at Albany later in the week.

There are two switches, however, that are appear to be locks this week.

The first is Tiger’s decision to use Bridgestone’s B330S golf ball, reported by Steve DiMeglio of USA Today. Woods was previously using Nike’s RZN Black golf ball.

Bridgestone's B330S golf balls sell for $44.99 per dozen.

Bridgestone’s B330S golf balls sell for $44.99 per dozen.

The B330S, also used by Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau, is one of two Bridgestone golf ball models played on the PGA Tour. It’s a four-piece design that has a slightly higher-spinning construction than Bridgestone’s B330, which is played by Brandt Snedeker.

The other change is Woods’ golf bag itself, which according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell will be branded with a Monster Energy Drink logo.

While it’s hard to imagine Woods chugging Monsters on the course, energy drink endorsements are nothing new to professional golf. Rickie Fowler, arguably the most well-known golfer outside the sport after Woods, has an endorsement with Red Bull. Jim Furyk has also been an endorser of 5-Hour Energy since 2012.

Related: See the clubs Woods in 2015

Woods has had six previous bag sponsors: Titleist, Buick, AT&T, Nike, Fuse Science and MusclePharm. MusclePharm was the latest, and disclosed in SEC filings that it paid Woods $7 million to carry the bag for two years, and paid the golfer an additional $2.5 million to terminate the deal in May.

According to Woods’ website, the golfer’s current sponsors include Nike, Hero, Kowa, Upper Deck, Rolex and a partnership with the PGA Tour.

Join the discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Woods’ equipment changes in our forum.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Sean

    Nov 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    No surprise. Bridgestone manufactured the Nike golf balls.

    • David Labbe

      Nov 30, 2016 at 8:18 am

      They were made in the same plant and Bridgestone had nothing to do with the design of the ball itself. Both companies have their own R&D department. This is very typical for not just golf balls but many products in many industries.

      • Ryan Butryn

        Nov 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

        I understand what you are saying, but I think he was trying to say that Tiger has been perticularly picky about the ball he uses. So picky that most of the time, his ball never makes on to store shelves because a ball that spins that mich isn’t very marketable. So, since Bridgestone manufactured balls for Nike, Bridgestone knows the exact specifications of the ball Tiger uses. So now, Toger is using the same ball he has used for a while but now with a Bridgestone logo slapped on the side. It’s a win win for both sides, Tiger gets the ball he wants and Bridgestone gets great marketing.

  2. Matt

    Nov 29, 2016 at 9:16 am

    LOL! Perfect! Go Tiger!!!!

  3. Taylor

    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Laddie.

  4. TM SOLD

    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    TIGER, JASON DAY, & 3 BACKERS ARE BUYING TM.

    • Tony Lynam

      Nov 29, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Bad time to be buying a golf equipment company. The amount of your own money that goes into it can destroy your wealth.

  5. HoselRockets INC

    Nov 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Hardly surprising. Fred Couples would have nudged him to this ball.. And its a putters ball for sure too..

  6. jlukes

    Nov 28, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Golf Channel keeps showing a graphic that has Tiger playing the Bridgestone RX – that can’t be right, can it?

  7. setter02

    Nov 28, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Hopefully the older version in the One Tour D era. Last time Nike made a good ball and was the best 330s’.

  8. HennyBogan67

    Nov 28, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    If he quits on the front 9 on Friday, Bridgestone will be blamed.

  9. Jack Nash

    Nov 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I heard years ago that Tiger was using a Bridgestone ball with a Nike swoosh on it. He was on the range with Couples at the time and hit some and liked the feel. Nike didn’t have anything like it at the time, so this was an interim fix.

    • Moretti

      Nov 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Bridgestone made Nike golf balls for a number of years. Nike hired Bridgestone’s head golf ball engineer when they started making the balls themselves.

  10. Real Logo

    Nov 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    He’s just going back to the ball that won him all those majors. At least now he doesn’t have to hide the logo with a Nike one lol

  11. Hook Whisperer

    Nov 28, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Great ball around the green and off the tee.

  12. Uhit

    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    The picture shows the old 2014 version of the B330S…
    …I thought all the mentioned players use the 2016 version – no?

    • Uhit

      Nov 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you – now, the picture is showing the 2016 version…

  13. Dave R

    Nov 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    OUCH. The trunk

  14. Andy C

    Nov 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    He should try to use Costco’s Kirkland’s balls. 🙂

    At least he can return the balls, if he is not completely satisfied with the performance (i.e. not winning the tourney)

  15. ooffa

    Nov 28, 2016 at 11:42 am

    They will look great in his trunk after the withdraw.

    • drkviolet

      Nov 28, 2016 at 11:48 am

      oooooh good one

    • Branson Reynolds

      Nov 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      And we’ll get a good view of it since 100 reporters will follow him to his car

    • Jamie

      Nov 28, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      you love this joke.

    • Tony Lynam

      Nov 29, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Yeah, but he gets them for free and free is good. But you and I will always be paying for our golf balls.

  16. Branson Reynolds

    Nov 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

    WITB is such a better topic when players have unique input. So boring when a WITB has the player gaming the latest equip from the sponsoring mfgr, Kevin Na style

  17. drkviolet

    Nov 28, 2016 at 10:19 am

    first

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Choi’s clubs. 

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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