The knock on Sergio Garcia the past few seasons has been his putting, and he put another new putter in play at the Honda Classic: a TaylorMade Rossa Daytona by Kia Ma with an all-milled face and no insert.
TaylorMade technicians filled the weight ports with their heaviest weights and created 3 degrees of loft. Garcia averaged 29.3 putts per round at the Honda Classic, good for a T-29 rank in putting average. He tied for 50th at 5-over 285.
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All in the family: Sam Saunders used a new Callaway FT Tour driver (8.5 degree) at the Honda. Callaway tour reps said he picked up 4 mph of ball speed on the range. On the course, he backed that up with a 302.1-yard driving average, fifth-longest in the field.
Saunders is the grandson of Arnold Palmer, who has been a Callaway staffer since 2000. Saunders tied for second in putting average with his Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. He also used three new Callaway X-Forged wedges (52, 56 and 60 degrees) on his way to a T-17 finish, his best on the PGA Tour.
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Developing talent: Unknown to many golf fans is the existence of TaylorMade’s “developmental staff.”
Brazilian Alexandre Rocha, who was added to that staff in late February, Monday-qualified for the Honda field, only his fourth PGA Tour event. Then he walked into the TaylorMade tour van without “balls, apparel, gloves or hats,” according to a company spokesman.
Rocha was given everything he needed, along with an R9 SuperTri driver and 54- and 60-degree TP xFT wedges.
He finished at 7 over par.
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Winning bags: The bag of winner Camilo Villegas, a Cobra staffer, at the Honda Classic: Cobra S9-1 Pro S driver (10.5 degree), Cobra LD FST fairway woods (3, 5), Titleist 909H hybrid (24 degree), Cobra Pro CB irons (5-PW), Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges (54, 58, 60), Titleist Scotty Cameron Circa 62 No. 6 putter. He uses a Titleist Pro V1 ball.
• South Korean teenager Seung-Yul Noh, 18, used an all-Titleist bag in his victory at the European Tour’s Malaysian Open: 909D3 driver (8.5 degree), 909F3 3-wood (13 degree), 909H hybrid (17 degree), Titleist MB irons (3-9), Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges (48, 54 and 60 degrees), Scotty Cameron prototype putter and Pro V1x ball.
• ANZ Ladies Masters winner Karrie Webb used a Rife Barbados putter in her victory at home in Australia. Webb also used a Srixon Z-RW driver (8.5 degree), Cleveland Launcher Ti-fairway wood (15 degree), Srixon I-701 Tour irons (4-PW) and a Srixon Z-Star ball.
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Short shots: Although he is not under contract, Lee Trevino is playing Bridgestone’s J38 Dual Pocket Cavity irons (two-time Champions Tour winner Fred Couples plays the same irons). Trevino was signed by Bridgestone to promote the company’s B330 RX and B330 RX-S golf balls. . . Aldila won the driver, all-wood and hybrid shaft counts at the Honda Classic. Nationwide Tour Bogota Open winner Steve Pate used Aldila’s RIP shaft in his TaylorMade R9 SuperTri driver (8.5 degree). . . Stewart Cink switched from UST Mamiya’s Proforce AXIVCore Tour Red shaft in his driver and 3-wood to the company’s new ATTAS shaft.