It seemed unthinkable just a few months ago that Costco and Titleist could face off in a legal dispute over golf ball patents and advertising claims… yet here we are.
- “Not infringing any valid patent rights owned by … Acushnet” (the holding company of Titleist, FootJoy and Pinnacle).
- “Not engaged in any false advertising regarding the [Kirkland Signature] golf balls.”
The dispute appears to have started when Acushnet sent a threatening letter to Costco, accusing the retailer of “infringing 11 Acushnet patents based on its sale of the [Kirkland Signature] golf ball and engaging in false advertising based on its Kirkland Signature guarantee that all Kirkland Signature products ‘meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands.'”
The “Kirkland Signature guarantee” appears to be a major sticking point for Acushnet. According to the complaint, “Acushnet asserts that the statement is intended to indicate to a reasonable consumer that the [Kirkland Signature] golf ball is the same or of greater quality as Titleist’s Pro V1.” Costco says it has “never publicly compared the [Kirkland Signature] ball with any Titleist ball, including the Pro V1.”
More interesting than all the legal mumbo jumbo for most golfers may be this sentence:
“Even though the Costco [Kirkland Signature] golf ball has sold out, Costco plans to continue to sell the [Kirkland Signature] golf ball.”
There it is, on record, that Costco plans to continue selling the $15-per-dozen, four-piece, urethane-covered golf balls that golfers went crazy over last year.
Wells Fargo Championship Tour Truck Report: Rory’s new (old) irons, Bryson’s proto 2-wood, Jason Day is SIK
The tour trucks rolled into North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. With the second major of the season — the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course — just two weeks away, players are keen to fine tune (if things are going well) or find answers (if things are going…less well).
For example, searching for answers and 98th in strokes gained: putting, Jason Day was spotted grinding away on a Quail Hollow putting green with a SIK Flo C-Series putter in hand and an EyeLine Mirror at his feet. The long-time TaylorMade Spider devotee was acclimating himself to the flatstick’s unique Descending Loft Technology.
If you’re unfamiliar, the company describes the tech as follows
“We have four flat surfaces that are milled into our putter face. Each plane descends in loft by 1° from the top of the face to the bottom of the face. When your shaft is pressed at impact the ball contact will be higher on the face, same is true in reverse. DLT delivers consistent launch angles from putt to putt which lead to more consistent and predictable rolls.”
Beyond J-Day, also in the department of seekers, Rory McIlroy, who already reverted from P7MB irons to P730 this season, is rumored to be turning back the clock even further.
Specifically, the Ulsterman was spotted with his 2017 TaylorMade Rors Proto irons.
As mentioned above, Rory McIlory returned to his 2017 Rors Proto irons. McIlroy began the season with P7MB irons before switching back to P730 blades.
Ryan Barath offered some context on the prototypes: “The Rors Protos were part of the custom series of irons made for a number of prominent TaylorMade staff players, including Dustin Johnson and (at the time) Justin Rose. They all featured slightly tweaked profiles of the TaylorMade P730 blade, featuring either a unique grind or blade length profile.”
Lanto Griffin is moving back to a TSi2 driver (from TSi3) for more launch and forgiveness.
Jimmy Walker is testing a TSi3 fairway wood (15 degrees) and a U500 2-iron.
Bill Haas is testing the Pro V1x Left Dash.
Non-staffer Rafael Campos is testing 620 MB irons with Mitsubishi MMT shafts.
Also a non-staffer, Scott Piercy is testing Pro V1x Left Dash.
Phil Mickelson is testing a Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X shaft in his Mavrik Sub Zero 4-wood.
Tom Lewis had a 14-degree Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond built. Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft.
Bryson DeChambeau has a new RadSpeed Big Tour Bryson Prototype. According to Cobra’s Ben Schomin, it’s the same head size and shape as the retail Big Tour, but it’s lower lofted (being played at 10.5 degrees) and features a glued hosel. Most apparently, however, the club features small rails, which were added after the fact for better strike consistency/less digging. BAD has also returned to his Cobra King LTD driver (pictured below).
Jason Dufner was testing a prototype (presumably 3D printed) putter.
Rickie Fowler tested multiple Fujikura Ventus Red driver shafts on the range; was also working with a Fujikura MCI Practice shaft in an iron.
Ping staffer Rob Oppenheimer plans to put a two-driver setup in play. One is eight degrees in loft and the other is 10.5.
Also in the in-hand look department, we were able to check out the new Gen4 0311 T and ST irons.
Pat Perez looks to have returned to his Gen4 0311 P irons after a detour to Gen2’s.
Free agents, others
Charl Schwartzel is testing a TwoThumb putter grip.
Rafa Campos reshafted his Mizuno MP-20 irons with KBS TGI 110 shafts.
Scott Garrison installed a LAGP putter shaft in Jhonny Vegas’ Cameron.
Rory McIlroy switches back to TaylorMade Rors Proto irons at Wells Fargo
It has been a busy equipment week at the Wells Fargo Championship with lots of new gear debuting out on tour, but for world number 15 Rory McIlroy, it’s been less about new stuff and more about reuniting with something older: his TaylorMade Rors Proto irons.
We were on the first tee Wednesday morning to spot Rory tee off with his pro-am partners and that is where we spied the Ulsterman with his old set back in the bag.
To provide a bit of a refresher, the Rors Protos were part of the custom series of irons made for a number of prominent TaylorMade staff players, including Dustin Johnson and (at the time) Justin Rose. They all featured slightly tweaked profiles of the TaylorMade P730 blade, featuring either a unique grind or blade length profile.
There is no question Rory’s game has not been up to his standard recently, and he has been messing around with iron shafts over the last couple of months with the goal of dialing in distance control and dispersion. With the PGA Championship quickly approaching at Kiawah Island, a course where Rory won the 2012 PGA by an astonishing eight shots, this looks to be a switch made for the sake of comfort and trying to find something to get him back into form.
You can join the discussion about the switch here in the GolfWRX forums: Rory is back to the Rors Proto iron at Wells Fargo Championship
GolfWRX Spotted: Ping Glide Forged Pro wedges (exclusive in-hand pictures)
This week, GolfWRX is on-site at the Wells Fargo Championship getting all of the inside equipment scoops from the tour vans, and early Tuesday morning, we got in-hand pictures of the highly anticipated new Ping i59 irons along with new Glide Forged Pro Wedges.
GolfWRX forum: Ping i59 irons – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship
GolfWRX forum: Ping Glide forged Pro wedges – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship
We initially spotted these Ping wedges a couple of weeks ago from a distance in the bag of Bubba Watson, and now, thanks to in-hand pictures (including some comparison shots) we can take a closer look.
Although we don’t have any of the technical details behind the new Ping design, what we can tell is the upper part of the blade is much thicker than the previous Ping Glide Forged wedges to the point where the top line has been beveled. This has been a very popular element of a lot of wedges from multiple OEMs, in an effort to shift the center of gravity higher on the face to lower launch and increase spin.
Ping wedges are well known for their spin performance, especially with the hydrophobic finish to repel water and increase friction. If the engineers at Ping can improve on the already great performance of their wedges, then they have a home run on their hands.
You can join the discussion in the GolfWRX forums here: Ping Glide forged Pro wedges – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship
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