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Six players switch to TaylorMade’s R1 Black in Memphis



In the days leading up to the start of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, golf fans were treated to a fury of buzz about the debut of TaylorMade’s new R1 Black driver.

“Who was testing it?,” they wondered. And was anyone going to switch?

PGA Tour players are guilty of being some of worst window shoppers on the planet. They look, they touch, they test and they might even take a club home with them. But for most players, the commitment level to a new product, especially in its debut week, is very low.


That’s why we’re shocked that six PGA Tour players decided to put the R1 Black driver in play this week in Memphis, a club that is virtually identical to the R1 White drivers that the players have been using in 2013. The only difference is that the R1 Black has a glossy black-painted crown, while the R1 White has a matte white-painted crown. The players who made the switch this week are:

  • Dustin Johnson: Loft (10.5), Shaft (Fujikura Fuel 2.0X), Length (45.75 inches), Sole Plate (Neutral), Weights (7 heel, 7 toe).
  • Brian Gay: Loft (9.5), Shaft (Oban Kiyoshi Purple 65X), Length (45.75 inches), Sole Plate (O1), Weights (6 heel, 6 toe).
  • Robert Allenby: Specs coming
  • Peter Hanson: Loft (8.75 degrees), Shaft (UST Miyama Accra 65X), Weights (7 heel, 8 toe) Sole plate (O2).
  • Scott Verplank: Specs coming
  • Casey Wittenberg: Specs coming

With the exception of Wittenberg, every player who made the switch to an R1 Black made the cut in Memphis.

Gay’s reason for the change was the most unusual. During testing on Trackman, he saw an 2-mph increase of club head speed with the R1 Black. While no two drivers are ever exactly the same, Gay had the drivers dialed into the exact same specs as his R1 White driver that he used to win this year’s Humana Challenge, making the increased performance even more baffling.

Charlie Kautz, TaylorMade’s social media manager, said that it’s tough to point to an exact reason for Gay’s faster club head speed with the R1 Black, but it’s not unheard of.

“If the visual cues of R1 Black naturally inspire faster swing speed/ball speed for Brian and he picks up a few yards, the analytical testing on Trackman is completely worthwhile,” he said. “And, you could argue, necessary, to evaluate which driver is better beyond just looks.”

There were 26 of TaylorMade’s R1 White drivers used in Round 1 of FedEx St. Jude Classic for a total of 32 R1’s in the field. That means that nearly 19 percent of R1 users decided to tee it up with TaylorMade’s black version.

We expect that number to grow as the year goes on, as several other players such as Brandt Snedeker (Click here to see photos of him testing the driver), Sean O’Hair, Chad Campbell, Boo Weekly, Matt Bettencourt and Ken Duke all tested the R1 Black but decided not to put it in play this week.

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  1. leftright

    Dec 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I rest my case. I get tired of telling everyone “I told you so.”

  2. Dunno, Jack

    Jun 13, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Cool. Does anyone know if this new black version will come in white?

    • John

      Aug 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, i heard it’ll be released as soon as they’ve implemented their revolutionary I.C.T (Inverted Color Technology). Apparently it’s gonna change the game and give all of us 17 extra inches and a stiffer shaft..

  3. Jack

    Jun 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Good job TMag! You found a new way to make drivers obsolete without even coming out with “new tech”. Great.

  4. Austin

    Jun 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    back in black. I hated the white look. will be testing taylormade product again when I am ready to buy this fall.

  5. Greg

    Jun 9, 2013 at 5:36 am

    I have ordered my black R1 and can’t wait. White just didn’t suite my eye at address. Having the options to dial in the loft and face angle should help my driving ability and accuracy.

  6. erkr

    Jun 9, 2013 at 2:41 am

    The white looks better. It is what makes R1 stand out

  7. 1puttwoods

    Jun 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I find it interesting that Brian Gay and his 103 mph swing speed play an x flex….

    • Blanco

      Jun 8, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      The folks at UST Miyama Accra must be stoked.

    • Taylormade Rep

      Jun 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      at 103 mph your supposed to play x, or you can play taylormade TP S which is the same as x. Get your facts right

  8. Kmax™

    Jun 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Didnt Sneds put the black R1 in the bag too?

  9. URNS

    Jun 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    The shiny finish is more aerodynamic, whipping through the air, rather than the matt finish which causes more friction as it is not as smooth.

    • Burddz

      Jun 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Pure genius…

    • jgpl001

      Jun 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Don’t be stupid – everyone know it’s due to TM’s new reverse, inverted R bi-concial cone, cold melted, plasma arc, seam free Molybdenum oxide face

      You need to keep up with the new technology man..

      PS I hear there is a new green TP “B” version on the way next week with an interchangable sole

      Can’t wait and it’s only $1199 on special order!

      I just wish TM would get lost and stop the nonsense

      • Jake A

        Jun 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        So every manufacture does that, it doesn’t mean there not high quality equipment….that’s why Justin rose just won the us open, so get out of here, you don’t know anything about golf you dumb*^%, every manufacture has to advertise some way

  10. MFB

    Jun 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I am sure Taylormade lining a few guys pockets with money to play the new R1 black had nothing to do with it.

    • Launcher

      Jun 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      TaylorMade pays players to use their stuff? Get outta here!

    • lloyd duffield

      Jun 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      i agree taylormade will sign and pay any old tom dick and harry to use there products so the public is brain washed in to thinking its the best gear on tour so u will spent your months rent on a shiny new R1 driver.
      all clubs are the same and always will be its down to u wot u want to be seen using.

      • Taylormade Rep

        Jun 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        all company’s do that, that is the reason that rory maclroy switched to nike

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Check out more in-hand photos of Adrien Saddier’s clubs here.


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