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All of the 2018 sponsor switches and speculation in one place (updated 1/12)

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When the ball drops in Times Square marking a new year, that means one thing in the golf world: sponsor switches. Every year there are a number of players who enter into new contracts, switch equipment sponsors and wear different apparel/footwear. So far in 2018, it seems there is even more shuffling than usual.

To make it easier on everyone, we’re collecting all of the sponsor switches in one article, which we will continue to update as announcements get made and speculation swirls.

Here are the sponsor switches that we’ve confirmed, and the ones that the rumor mill are churning out.

Confirmed

Updated: 1/12/18 at 10:45 a.m.

Via Twitter, JJ Henry has signed an endorsement deal with Ben Hogan Golf and will play their irons, and Stewart Cink will be wearing Ben Hogan Performance Apparel.

Updated: 1/10/18 at 8 p.m.

Updated 1/8/18 at 3:30 p.m.

Anirban Lahiri has officially signed with Callaway, and he will play Callaway metalwoods, irons, wedges, an Odyssey putter and a Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball.

Updated 1/5/18 at 2:00 p.m.

Brian Harman is officially on staff with Titleist. He will play a a bag full of Titleist equipment and use a Pro V1 golf ball.

Sergio Garcia signs a deal with Callaway after being with TaylorMade for 15 years, and he signs an apparel/footwear contract with adidas Golf.

Xander Schauffele signs with Callaway after being with TaylorMade throughout his short professional career, and he also signs an apparel/footwear deal with adidas Golf.

Jason Dufner is no longer in a golf-club contract with Titleist. We spotted him using a TaylorMade M4 driver in Hawaii, but he will continue using a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball.

LAHAINA, HI – JANUARY 03: Hudosn Swafford of the United States plays a shot during the pro-am tournament prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2018 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hudson Swafford signs an equipment deal with Callaway after being with Bridgestone.

Si Woo Kim signs an equipment contract with Callaway, and a footwear-only deal with Nike Golf.

Former long-drive Champion and Web.com Tour player Jamie Sadlowski signs with Cleveland. Here are his driver specs…

Patrick Reed inks an apparel/footwear deal with Nike Golf. Callaway has also confirmed that he is “no longer officially with Callaway.”

Other new Nike apparel/footwear players include Chris Wood, Cameron Champ and Jimmy Stanger. Alex Noren will now be a head-to-toe Nike staffer, while Lee Westwood will be footwear only.

Speculation

LAHAINA, HI – JANUARY 03: Grayson Murray of the United States plays a shot during the pro-am tournament prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2018 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Grayson Murray to Cleveland-Srixon? Based on his Srixon hat and Cleveland wedge in the photo above, it’s a distinct possibility.

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Equipment

U.S. Open Tour Truck Report: #7woodSZN, mini drivers, fresh grooves, and tinkering

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A nearly 7,700-yard, par-71 track featuring penal rough off the fairway and green, Torrey Pines’ South Course presents a difficult, demanding examination for players at this week’s U.S. Open. From every television, computer, and mobile device screen this truth is being conveyed to the point that, as is often the case in the leadup to U.S. Opens, a certain fatigue sets in.

However, it’s worth pointing to the obvious in order to highlight the fact that some players are making changes to their setups to accommodate the long approaches into par-4s and the need to maximize descent angle into — what are expected to be — thoroughly baked out greens.

Additionally, we’re hearing a ton of players are putting 7-woods in play primarily for the purpose of advancing the ball from the rough — not exactly “a get out of jail free” card, but hopefully a key to slip out of one’s cell.

Let’s get into the specifics.

Titleist

Jordan Spieth is testing a 21-degree TSi2 fairway wood, which is a game-time decision to add to the lineup in place of his 818 H2 hybrid.

Both Lanto Griffin and Matt Jones are adding TSi2 (21-degree) fairway woods in place of their utility irons.

Adam Scott is going with four woods this week. He’s adding a 13.5-degree TSi2 fairway wood. The Australian is also putting a Vokey 60A wedge in play (switching from a 60-06K). With four degrees of bounce, the wedge works well on tight lies.

Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck: “The rough is really, really difficult this week. And the greens are starting to firm up. So we have a lot of players evaluating TSi fairway wood options. The TSi 21-degree 7-wood has been very popular. Players are really liking what it does out of the rough and then into the greens – really high launch angle and landing very softly has been really effective.”

Max Homa put a new Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5, which is a similar profile to the 11.5 model he played earlier in the year. Homa likes the feel, forgiveness, and ease of alignment in the smaller profile.

Vokey

Not surprisingly, the majority of players asking for fresh grooves this week.

Vokey Tour Rep Aaron Dill on wedges this week: “This golf course is a beast. As you would imagine, rough is long and thick, but it’s a really cool different style of golf course where you’ve got a couple different types of grasses and just the way they put it together, it makes it extremely challenging. Because of this rough, because of the fairways, because of the greens, you would think that you’d want a little bit more bounce because of just how juicy and thick and healthy this rough is. But the reality is the more bounce you get, the slower it moves through that tall grass.”

“And so we see a lot of guys gravitate to something with less bounce: T grinds, A Grinds, L Grinds, Low-bounce K’s. Adam Scott switched to a 60A this week. He dabbled a little bit with it at Augusta National this year, but this is that week where it really fits the conditions. He wants that speed. He wants that comfort. He wants to be aggressive, so it’s great fit for him. Guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth are bringing in fresh 60’s this week. So these guys are prepared. They’re ready to go. But again, very difficult golf course. You’ve got to have fresh grooves and you’ve got to have a little bit less bounced to maneuver through this tall grass.”

(Photo via Titleist)

Callaway

Phil Mickelson was spotted with a TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver (Fujikura Ventus Black shaft) in practice rounds. He’s also reportedly testing a 5-wood with a Fujikura Ventus Red 9 X shaft.

Akshay Bhatia is testing a Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft in an Epic Max LS driver.

Patrick Rodgers is testing a Callaway Epic Speed 7-wood (Graphite Design Tour AD DI 9 TX).

Henrik Stenson has new Jaws MD5 Slate wedges in the bag (52-10S, 58-08C).

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

TaylorMade

Dustin Johnson looks to be returning to a TaylorMade TP Bandon putter (now outfitted with an LA Golf shaft) after rolling it with his Spider IB Limited at the Palmetto Championship. He’s sticking with the prototype LA Golf shaft in his driver, which makes sense, considering he now owns part of the company.

Sergio Garcia has a new TaylorMade Spider X Chalf in the bag.

Quick rundown of Matthew Wolff’s setup: SIM (9 degrees), P770 3, P750 4-PW, Spider X, TP5 Pix

Collin Morikawa put a MG2 Hi Toe (60-10) in play.

Robert MacIntyre changed up his flatstick and is going with a TP Bandon 3.

Ping

Reportedly “half of the tour staff” are putting 7-woods in play, according to our source at Ping. Bubba Watson and Mackenzie Hughes included.

Watson’s 7-wood specs: Ping G425 Max (23.5 degrees). 40.5-inch Fujikura Black 9 X shaft in custom pink (tipped 2 inches, D2+).

Cole Hammer is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD HD 7 TX shaft in his driver.

Others, free agents

Hideki Matsuyama is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD UB 9 X shaft in a SIM2 Max 3-wood.

Rikuya Hoshino is testing Graphite Design Tour AD UB 9 X in a Srixon ZX5 driver.

Shane Lowry has a new Cleveland RTX Full-Face 58-degree wedge in play.

Zack Sucher is putting a 16-degree Srixon ZX hybrid in play.

The king of stout shafts, Jhonny Vegas is testing a Fujikura Ventus Black 100 X shaft in his 5-wood.

Richard Bland has a spread of TM wedges: MG (46 degrees), MG Hi Toe (54, 60 degrees).

Cameron Champ put TaylorMade wedges in play: (MG Hi Toe 56, 60 degrees).

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree

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GolfWRX is live from Congaree Golf Club for the Palmetto Championship. This one-time replacement for the RBC Canadian Open is the third PGA Tour event contested in South Carolina this season.

Palmetto State native Dustin Johnson headlines the field (and has been doing plenty of putter testing). Brooks Koepka and Jason Dufner will be teeing it up as well. John Pak and Davis Thompson will both be making their professional debuts.

General galleries

Tuesday

Wednesday

Special galleries

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Tour News

John Pak, college golf’s top player, signs with TaylorMade

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report.

With a buddy on the bag and fresh off receiving the Jack Nicklaus Award in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, celebrated amateur and Florida State standout John Pak is making his professional debut at this week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree — and he’ll do so as a TaylorMade staffer, the company announced today.

College golf’s top player, Pak has played TaylorMade gear and a Titleist ball since his amateur days. And as we found out from Ryan Ressa, TaylorMade’s player development manager, who has worked with Pak since he was in his early teens, it’s not surprising Pak will continue with the same bag setup and ball combination as he joins the professional ranks.

The Scotch Plains, New Jersey, native is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy when it comes to his equipment, which is a trait Ressa sees among many of the game’s best. (Another TaylorMade staffer Tiger Woods, for one, comes to mind).

Ressa and TaylorMade have had a relationship with Pak for nearly a decade, and it’s Ressa’s job to not only make sure Pak is in the right equipment for his game but is also navigating the matrix of amateur competitions, college, and the decision to turn pro successfully.

According to Ressa, Pak, and other junior standouts, need new equipment, or at least a fitting, roughly every six months as their bodies and swings change.

Even so, while he’s transitioned into new fairway wood models as they’ve become available, the DNA of Pak’s bag has stayed largely the same.

“Jon is a very simple guy when it comes to equipment, and he doesn’t do a lot of tinkering outside of driver shafts,” Ressa said. “Deep down, he’s a great competitor. He just loves to compete and is focused on getting the ball in the hole. He’s stayed really, really consistent with the look of his irons, the loft of his wedges, and his bag setup. He’s been easy to work with and only needs one or two visits per year to get squared away.”

Read the full piece here.

Check out the full WITB here. 

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