Call it Ernie’s Odyssey. Ernie Els tied for 12th in Hawaii, but it was a tumultuous week.
It started when his Callaway prototype forged irons failed the U.S. Golf Association grooves test. According to Els, the exact same set had passed the grooves test when administered in Europe by R&A officials.
So Els was ironless until Peter Booth, a Callaway clubfitter, flew from California to Hawaii with a new set.
“The ruling bodies realize they have an issue,” said Jeff Colton, Callaway senior vice president. “One of them approved the irons; the other did not. It is disconcerting. The manufacturers and players are stuck in the middle.
“I think they (the USGA and R&A) realize they have to establish a protocol for this. Right now, they’re doing something differently.”
Changing faces of Goosen: Retief Goosen became the first player to request a face change to TaylorMade TP xFT wedges with interchangeable faces. Goosen had new faces installed in his 54- and 60-degree wedges.
The soles of the wedges had been custom ground a few weeks ago, and Goosen said he was pleased with their performance. He also said he will change faces before each of the four major championships.
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High-five for Adams: Speaking of wedges, Blake Adams might have set an unofficial PGA Tour record by carrying five in Hawaii. Four of the wedges were TaylorMades (RAC 48, 52, 58 and 64), and the other was a Cleveland 588 (60 degree).
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Palmer’s mixed bag: Sony Open winner Ryan Palmer used a Titleist Pro V1 ball, making it 2-for-2 this season for the Pro V1. Palmer’s R9 460 driver (9.5 degree) had a AXIVCore Tour Black shaft (69 grams, X flex) from UST Mamiya. He also carried a TaylorMade Burner 3-wood (14.5 degree) and 5-wood (19 degree), TaylorMade Rescue TP (22 degree), Titleist AP2 irons (5-PW), TaylorMade RAC wedges (50, 54, 60 degree). His putter was an Odyssey Rossie 2.
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Short shots: K.J. Choi is no longer with Nike. He does not have an equipment contract but played Ping i15 irons in Hawaii. . . . Jeff Quinney signed with Cleveland after the demise of Nickent. He too played Ping i15 irons at Sony . . . . George McNeill and John Huston have agreed to bag, hat, ball and Cleveland wedge packages with Srixon. . . . Luke Donald signed a new three-deal deal with Mizuno.