Toy Box notes: Schwartzel uses all Nike gear

Charl Schwartzel waves to the gallery after holing a shot for eagle on the third green during the final round of the 2011 Masters.

Charl Schwartzel waves to the gallery after holing a shot for eagle on the third green during the final round of the 2011 Masters.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was decked out head-to-toe in Nike gear en route to his victory at Augusta National.

Schwartzel’s bag included a Nike VR Tour driver (8.5 degree), SQ Sumo 3-wood (13 degree) and 5-wood (19 degree), VR Pro Blade irons (3-PW), VR Pro wedges (54 and 59 degree), Method 004 Prototype putter, Nike One Tour D golf ball and Lunar Control shoes.

• • •

Hybrids to rescue at Augusta: It takes a major championship to fully appreciate the impact of hybrid golf clubs. At the Masters, two prominent players carried four hybrids apiece.

For K.J. Choi, the longest iron in his bag was a 7-iron, while Y.E. Yang’s was a 6-iron. Both carried four hybrids.

Choi used a TaylorMade Rescue TP FCT (19 degree) and three Adams Idea Pro a12 Prototype G hybrids (24, 26, 28 degree). The TaylorMade had a Graphite Design Tour AD Hybrid shaft, and the Adams hybrids had Matrix Ozik HM2 Hybrid shafts.

Yang used all TaylorMade Rescue TP hybrids (17, 19, 21, 23 degree), with four different Aldila shafts (NV 85, NV HYB 105, NVS HYB 105, TaylorMade Hybrid by Aldila, respectively).

Even Jim Furyk joined the hybrid parade, adding two TaylorMade Rescue 11 hybrids (18 and 21 degree).

• • •

Garcia stabilizes shafts: Sergio Garcia installed shaft stabilizers from Balance Certified in his woods and irons. Some golfers refer to these shaft stabilizers as backweights, although Balance Certified does not use the term.

The stabilizers are installed inside the shaft in the butt end of each club. In Garcia’s case, they weigh between 18 and 40 grams, depending on which stabilizer he wants in which club. They are made of aerospace-grade aluminum or standard heavy naval brass.

Balance Certified stabilizers have been used by a handful of players on the PGA Tour since 1999. Why? Advocates cite better clubhead feel and control.

The backweighting concept has been around for decades. Jack Wullkotte, the longtime clubmaker for Jack Nicklaus, used to place lead in the butt end of the Golden Bear’s driver.

Boccieri Golf, maker of the Heavy Putter, introduced backweighted woods, irons and hybrids at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show in January.

• • •

Snedeker uses Bridgestone’s Tour Stage irons: Anyone looking for unusual irons could go directly to the bag of Brandt Snedeker, who used a well-worn set of Tour Stage forged blades at the Masters.

Tour Stage is a popular Bridgestone brand in Japan and other countries in the Far East.

These forgings are so soft they appear to have hundreds of nicks and dings in them. Snedeker has been using them for slightly more than two years.

“I’m very particular,” he said. “When I find something I like, I don’t like to switch.”

• • •

Short shots: Count Jason Day among the golfers playing without a 3-wood. At the Masters, Day carried a TaylorMade R11 4-wood (17 degree). . . . No golfer has won a major championship using a long putter, but don’t tell that to Adam Scott. The Aussie tied for second at the Masters using a 49-inch Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi. He had 111 putts for 72 holes, good for a ranking of T-3 (behind Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel) in number of putts.

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