Toy Box: Donald wins with new Mizuno sticks

Luke Donald, of England, holds up his golf ball after saving par on the 17th hole during the final round of the Transitions golf tournament.

When Luke Donald won Sunday at the Transitions Championship to regain the No. 1 world ranking, he was carrying 12 clubs that were new to his bag this year. This is the player who won two money titles in 2011, but that didn’t stop him from making wholesale changes in his bag.

He is playing new Mizuno irons and wedges, and a new driver and 3-wood from TaylorMade. Donald switched to the new MP-59 model (3-PW). He also is playing the new Mizuno MP R-12 wedges (54 and 60 degree). His driver is the TaylorMade RocketBallz (9.5 degree), and his 3-wood is a TaylorMade RocketBallz Tour model (15 degree).

Donald did not change his Mizuno CLK Fli-Hi hybrid (17 degree) or his Odyssey White Hot XG No. 7H (heavy) putter. He still uses a Titleist Pro V1x ball.

Pro V1x scores multiple wins

It was a big weekend for the Titleist Pro V1x ball, as four winners on prominent professional tours used the ball: Donald at the Transitions, Yani Tseng at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Julien Quesne at the Andalucia Open and David Lipsky at the Cambodian Classic.

Playoff participant breakdown

Three of the four players in the Transitions Championship playoff used Odyssey putters – winner Donald plus Jim Furyk (White Hot XG No. 7) and Sang-moon Bae (Tour Milled No. 1).

Bae also used a Callaway driver not available in the United States, the Legacy Black (9.5 degree).

Two golfers in the playoff (Robert Garrigus and Furyk) had KBS steel shafts in their irons. The difference? Garrigus used the 130-gram KBS Tour X, while Furyk played the 115-gram KBS Tour R Plus.

Furyk relying on mostly Callaway

Jim Furyk’s contract with Callaway specifies that he use a Callaway driver and golf ball. However, Furyk carried 12 Callaway clubs at Transitions.

In his bag: Razr Fit driver (10.5 degree), Razr X Forged irons (4-PW), X-Forged wedges (50, 56 and 60 degree) and the Odyssey putter. He is using Callaway’s HEX Black Tour ball.

Furyk’s two non-Callaway clubs were a TaylorMade Burner 08 3-wood (14.5 degree) and a TaylorMade Rescue 11 hybrid (18 degree).

At Tampa, Furyk talked about his equipment: “I drove the ball pitiful last year. That’s probably the worst driving year I’ve had. And I don’t credit it all to putting. I putted poorly last year. I drove the ball poorly last year. That’s two of the three most important parts of the game. You’re not going to score well at that point.”

“So I switched drivers at the end of last year in December. Started working with a Callaway driver right before Chevron and I liked what I saw. I started working with a different golf ball when I played with Phil (Mickelson) at the Presidents Cup; started using his golf ball and really liked it.”

Pettersson’s power

Carl Pettersson has slipped to ninth in driving distance on the PGA Tour (three weeks ago he was first), but amateurs might pay attention to exactly how Pettersson has averaged 302.3 yards per measured drive this year.

All year, he has used a Nike VR Pro STR8-FIT driver (11.5 degree with a Mitsubishi Fubuki a 50 X shaft).

A driver with 11.5 degrees of loft could be considered a strong 3-wood, but Pettersson plays what gives him maximum carry distance and roll. Average PGA Tour driver loft is about 9.5 degrees.

Short shots

One week after his WGC-Cadillac Championship victory, Justin Rose put a new TaylorMade ATV wedge (51 degree) into his bag. Rose requested that the wedge be built a half-inch longer – to the length of his pitching wedge – for more distance. The ATV wedges are expected to be at retail by mid-April. . . . Sean O’Hair is the latest example of a Tour player matching his 3-wood to his driver. He went to a RocketBallz driver (8 degree) and 3-wood (15 degree), both with a Matrix TPHD7 shaft. . . . There is no precise formula for comparing irons to hybrids, but here’s how a few Tour players executed swaps: Matt Bettencourt removed a TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 4-iron from his bag and substituted a Rescue 11 (23.5 degree). William McGirt took out a Tour Preferred CB 3-iron and replaced it with a RocketBallz Tour Rescue (18.5 degree).

– James Achenbach

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