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AT&T Byron Nelson Tour Truck Report: Details on Spieth’s ball change, Kuch’s new putters, more

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There’s not a ton of tinkering going on at presently soggy TPC Craig Ranch where Monday was wet and Tuesday was a washout. With it being the week before a major championship and the heart of the season, most players are committed to dancing with the one that brought them and are only soliciting the tour trucks for spec checks and regripping.

Perhaps most interestingly this week, Jordan Spieth has switched from a previous generation of the Titleist Pro V1x into the current iteration of the golf ball (Exhibit A: The photos of Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller holding up the wares below).

Check out all our photos from the Byron Nelson!

Matt Kuchar continues his flatstick experimentation as he looks to find his form on the green. Bettinardi built him a couple of long-neck center-shafted blades to tinker with. Face-on view of one of the models below, and more photos here.

More of what’s up with major OEM staffers, below.

Titleist

Sean O’Hair is testing a TSi2 (10 degree) driver and TSi2 (15 degree) fairway.

Per Titleist, Spieth offered this about his switch into the new Pro V1x

“I’m trying to optimize launch conditions through the bag. For me, the 2021 Pro V1x, I get more spin around the greens. It’s softer, spinnier around the greens with my short game shots. And then when I went up the bag, I started to get a little bit higher launch, but it didn’t add spin in the long clubs. It just added ball speed and launch. So it’s a little higher window, but it just looks like it’s screaming through the air. And then from the 7-iron on down, I didn’t see much difference in the full shots, just like I said more action around the greens.”

“I’m trying to just hit optimal windows and if I can gain – really, in my long clubs – just a little bit better peak height with a little bit faster ball speed, it actually helps fill my gaps a little bit easier. And then it’s just coming down – it has the potential to come down a little bit softer, which is obviously important. But I’m not seeing a massive difference through kind of that mid iron into short iron. And I still can hit each shot that I want to with the scoring clubs. So being able to tee off and all you do is change the ball and it’s actually in a similar window that’s going 3-4 yards further, that’s nice. And then when I get to the scoring range clubs, I feel like if anything, I just have the ability to hit an even softer shot if I want to. But the rest of them were all still there.”

 

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A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)

And while Titleist is mum on any further details, there is this…

Callaway

Sam Burns had set of raw Apex MB irons built for testing.

Talor Gooch is testing a 15-degree Epic Speed Triple Diamond with a Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shaft.

Jamie Lovemark is testing a new Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS ([email protected] degrees) with an Oban HB Kiyoshi 05 shaft.

Wesley Bryant added a prototype full-face 58-08C (@59 degrees) MD5 wedge to his arsenal.

Image via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder

TaylorMade

Beau Hossler switched into a SIM2 Max (12 degrees).

Daniel Berger (non-staffer) added a 15-degree SIM2 Max to his arsenal.

Making his pro debut, amateur Pierceson Coody had this combo set built: P790 (3), P7MC (4-6), P7MB (7-PW).

Non-staffer Rory Sabbatini added a SIM2 driver (9 degrees) and P7MC to his bag (5-PW).

Others, free agents

Rickie Fowler returned to the Scotty Cameron with “Cameron” rather than “Rickie” at the Wells Fargo Championship, but this is the first good look at the flatstick we’ve gotten since the switch.

Daniel Berger was spotted testing a Titleist TS3 with a Ventus Black shaft.

Russell Knox was spotted testing an Axis1 putter.

In a pretty wild story we’re looking for more information on, notorious gearhead Chris Baker is rumored to be putting a set of irons belonging to Cobra rep James Posey in play. Incidentally, Baker is also testing a Kali White shaft.

Free agent Dominic Bozzelli is testing a Titleist TSi3 driver (9 degrees).

James Hahn is reportedly testing a number of shafts: prototype Aldila in a fairway wood, and Mitsubishi MMT in a hybrid and long iron.

PXG staffer Danny Lee switched out of Project X 6.5 and into KBS Tour V 125 shafts (5-PW) and KBS TGI 110 in 3 and 4-iron.

Tom Lewis has moved back into KBS S Taper 125 in his full set. He was playing Nippon 125’s in his irons and a Fujikura Ventus Black 115 HB in his Srixon ZX5 3-iron.

Check out all our photos from the Byron Nelson!

 

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  1. No Donkeys Allowed

    May 13, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Kdouuuuuuche, Kdouuuuuuuuuche, Kdouuuuuuuuuuuche, Kdouuuuuuuuuuche…..

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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.

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.

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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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