Lefty’s arsenal delivers wire-to-wire victory
Phil Mickelson is known as a club tinkerer, but at the Waste Management Phoenix Open he used a straight-forward bag configuration (other than two metalwoods that were bent strong): Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme driver (marked 9.5 degree, but with an actual loft of 8.1 degree), TaylorMade RocketBallz 3-wood (marked 13, but actually 12 degree), Titleist 980F 5-wood (17 degree), Callaway Razr X Muscleback irons (4-PW), Callaway Jaws wedges (52, 56 and 60 degree) and an Odyssey Black Series Tour Design No. 9 putter. He played a Callaway Hex Black Tour ball.
Mickelson’s driver shaft was a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki K-series 70X. His driver, which was 45 inches in length, featured 5 grams of weight in the toe and 3 grams in the heel. For his 3-wood, Mickelson used a Fubuki K-series 80X.
Mickelson played KBS steel shafts in his irons and wedges. All were KBS Tour V2, 125 grams, X flex. The KBS Tour V2 was designed specifically for Mickelson by KBS creator Kim Braly.
The V2 is still considered a prototype and has not been released to the public. The shaft has the same step pattern as the KBS Tour, but the diameter has been increased for a stiffer profile near the tip. For Mickelson, the shaft provides a piercing, penetrating trajectory with minimal spin.
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Taking advantage of adjustability
Nike Golf staff member Jhonattan Vegas hasn’t hesitated to explore the versatility of his Nike Covert VR_S driver, which can be adjusted from 8.5 degree to 12.5 degree. So far this season, he has played in three tournaments and used three lofts, with various face angle positions. Vegas has gone from 8.5/right to 10.5/neutral to 9.5/neutral.
His entire bag: VR_S Covert driver (9.5 degree, with Fujikura Motore 8.2 Tour Spec X shaft), VR_S Covert Tour 3-wood (13 degree), VR Pro Limited Edition 5-wood (19 degree), VR Pro Blades (3-PW), VR Pro wedges (53 and 60 degree), Method 001 putter and 20XI X ball.
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New Titleist balls gain momentum
Titleist won the ball, wedge and putter counts in Phoenix. Of the 87 Titleist balls in play, 58 were the new 2013 Pro V1 or Pro V1x. Playing the 2013 Pro V1x for the first time, Stephen Gallacher triumphed on the PGA European Tour. Hunter Mahan has switched from the 2013 Pro V1 to the 2013 Pro V1x.
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New clubs, iron shafts provide boost for Moore
Ryan Moore shot 66-66-65-65 at Phoenix and still finished fourth. Nevertheless, it improved his confidence and his scoring average. He produced his stellar results with 11 new TaylorMade clubs: R1 driver (9 degree), RocketBallz Stage 2 3-wood (13 degree), RocketBallz Stage 3 5-wood (19 degree) and RocketBladez Tour irons (3-PW).
Moore played for the first time with AeroTech SteelFiber composite shafts in his irons. Ben Crane also made the switch to AeroTech at Phoenix.
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Ping G25 earns a following
At Phoenix, Angel Cabrera, Jeff Maggert and Harris English put the new G25 driver into play. They join Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan in using the club. In the name of accuracy, the long-hitting English reduced the length of his driver from 45.25 inches to 44.5 inches. He also increased the weight of his driver shaft from 60 grams to 80 grams. He decided to use more loft, too, going from 8.74 degree to 10.5 degree.
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Callaway’s heavy hitters face off in showdown
On Tuesday night of Waste Management week, Gary Woodland, Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke List and Andres Gonzales participated in a long-drive competition to celebrate the launch of Callaway’s X Hot line. In cool temperatures, the four Callaway staff players hit five drives apiece. Woodland won with a drive of 376.5 yards. List was 3 yards shorter. Woodland used 9.5-degree X Hot Pro driver and Hex Black Tour golf ball. He was awarded the X Hot heavyweight belt.
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Nippon steel shafts record a double
Karrie Webb won the Australian Ladies Masters using Nippon’s N.S. Pro 1050 shafts in her irons and wedges. She played N.S. Pro Regio graphite shafts in her driver and fairway woods.
Stephen Gallacher captured the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 shafts in his irons.
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SHORT SHOTS: Mitsubishi won the driver-shaft count at Phoenix, something it has done at every PGA Tour event this season. . . . Lighter shafts are not always the answer. Tim Clark, saying he wanted to feel the shaft during the swing, increased the weight of his iron shafts from 95 grams to 110 grams. . . . Lee Westwood made plenty of changes at the Dubai Desert Classic. His updated bag (all Ping): G25 driver (10.5 degree), G25 3-wood (15 degree), G25 hybrid (20 degree), i20 irons (3-PW), Tour Gorge wedges (54 and 58 degree, both wide sole) and Scottsdale TR Shea (adjustable) putter. . . . TaylorMade won the driver, fairway wood and iron counts at Phoenix. . . . Aldila won two shaft counts at Phoenix – the overall wood shaft count and the hybrid shaft count. . . . Brendan Steele offered an example of consistent, shaft-weight progression in his metalwoods. Steele who tied for sixth in Phoenix, used an Aldila RIP 70 in his driver, a RIP 80 in his 3-wood and a RIP 90 in his 5-wood. Those numbers relate to the total weight of the shafts in grams.
– James Achenbach and Alex Miceli