Phoenix Open champion Mark Wilson didn’t change one piece of equipment from victory No. 1 (Sony Open) to victory No. 2 in 2011. Playing in Phoenix-based Ping’s backyard, Wilson again had a bag brimming with Ping clubs: His driver was a Ping i15 (8 degree), and he also played Ping i15 hybrids (17 and 20 degree), Ping i10 irons (4-PW), Ping Tour wedges (52 and 60 degree) and a Karsten Series Anser putter. He also used a Cleveland HiBore XLS 3-wood (13 degree) and a Titleist Pro V1x ball.
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Backstryke key for Bjorn
Thomas Bjorn won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters with a new Callaway Razr Hawk driver with a loft of 8.5 degrees.
Bjorn’s most valuable club, though, may be his Odyssey Backstryke Marxman putter. Stuck in a putting slump last year, Bjorn switched to the Backstryke Marxman in June and soon won the Portugal Open by five strokes. Bjorn used the same putter to post a four-stroke victory in Qatar.
Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey also carried a Backstryke putter at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he contended late and finished T-8. Gainey’s model was the Backstryke Blade.
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O’Hair chooses forgiveness
While most TaylorMade players are using the company’s new Tour Preferred forged MB or MC irons, Sean O’Hair has switched to the Tour Preferred forged CB irons (3-9). The CB irons have many game-improvement features and originally were earmarked for golfers with handicaps of 15 or better. O’Hair said he likes the ball flight, feel and forgiveness of the CB irons.
Some amateurs are creating mixed sets by combining CB long irons with MC irons for the rest of the set.
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Short shots: Jason Dufner, who lost in a playoff in Phoenix, carried a Titleist 910D2 driver with an Aldila RIP 70 graphite shaft, while his Titleist 910F 3-wood (15 degrees) had an Aldila RIP 80 shaft. . . . Question you always wanted to ask: What kind of gloves does Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey wear? Answer: A pair of black Callaway Ions. . . . Paul Casey, who won the European Tour’s Volvo Champions event Jan. 30 in Bahrain, used Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 steel shafts in his Nike VR Pro Combo irons. It marked the first pro victory for the new Modus3 shaft. . . .Ping is conducting a comprehensive study of gapping – or the graduated carry distances of all clubs – and the following pros participated in the research at Ping’s factory during Phoenix Open week: Daniel Summerhays, Zack Miller, Billy Horschel, Angel Cabrera, Hunter Mahan, Jeff Maggert, Nick O’Hern, Bubba Watson, Kevin Sutherland, Chris Riley, D.J. Brigman, Alex Prugh, Martin Pillar, Mark Wilson, Bill Lunde, Chris DiMarco and Heath Slocum. . . . Pat Perez likes onset irons (no offset in the hosel), so TaylorMade clubmakers built a set of MB irons (minimal offset) and then performed a double bend to make them onset. Perez used KBS Tour steel shafts in the irons. . . . . Chris Couch uses a TaylorMade R11 driver (8 degree) that is 47 inches. Couch plays with an open face and a heavy weight in the heel. Why? So he can swing aggressively and hit drives that turn over for extra roll.