Kelly switches back to Pro V1x

>> The story of how Zurich Classic winner Jerry Kelly switched back to the Titleist Pro V1x golf ball from the Pro V1 was amusing and revealing.

Titleist PGA Tour rep Jeff Beyers walked with Kelly during a Zurich practice round. At one point, Beyers gave Kelly an unmarked Pro V1x (2009 version) but didn’t reveal the ball’s identity.

Kelly hit the ball off the tee and liked the result. “Now that’s the flight I’ve been looking for,” Kelly told Beyers. “It’s about 5 yards longer.”

Beyers then insisted that Kelly hit several iron shots, as well as chips and pitches.

“Will this ball be ready by Thursday?” asked Kelly, who assumed it was a new Titleist model.

Beyers then said: “It’s the 2009 Pro V1x.” he said, And, yes, it will be available by Thursday.”

Everybody laughed, because the ball has been on the PGA Tour since the beginning of 2009.

Kelly used the 2007 version of the Pro V1x until the Byron Nelson Classic in 2008, when he changed to the 2007 Pro V1. He continued to use the Pro V1 for a year, switching over to the 2009 model this year.

Updated models of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x have been introduced in odd years – 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

At the Zurich Classic, 70 players used Pro V1x balls (35 had the 2009 model, 23 played the 2007 model, and 12 stuck with the 2005 version), while 36 players used Pro V1 balls (23, 12 and 1 for the 2009, ’07 and ’03 models, respectively).

>> Callaway unveiled a right-handed FT-9 Tour Authentic driver at the Zurich Classic.

The Tour Authentic version of the FT-9 has a traditional hosel, which is why Callaway’s tour reps refer to it as the TH model. The original FT-9 has a bore-through design (the shaft goes through the head) without a traditional hosel.

The Tour Authentic version is slightly smaller (430cc versus 460), and has a rounder, pear-shaped head.

The new hosel moves the club’s center of gravity more toward the heel and slightly higher on the face. The Tour Authentic version also has a slightly lower moment of inertia.

Phil Mickelson put a 7.5-degree FT-9 Tour Authentic (left-handed) in his bag before his Northern Trust Open victory.

Only the 8.5-degree right-handed model had been approved by the USGA before the Zurich.

>> USGA senior technical director Dick Rugge in response to Angel Cabrera’s 21-inch Winn grip on his 39-inch Ping i-Series 1/2 Craz-E belly putter: “There is no maximum length for a grip, so it could be longer than 21 inches. Could it extend all the way down to the head? We would likely evaluate such a submission (from a golf company) after learning what the manufacturer was intending to accomplish.”

>> Danny Lee made one slight change before his pro debut at the Zurich Classic. He took 1 degree of loft off his Callaway FT-9 driver, going to a 7.5-degree model. The club has an extra-stiff, 69-gram UST Axiv Core Red shaft. The Red model is tip stiff.

>> Nick Watney’s success this season is in part because he reunited with an old friend. Watney put a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport Tour 350G back in the bag before the start of the year. Watney first used the putter in college in 2002. He also carried it during his ’07 Zurich victory.

>> Graphite Design’s Pershing shaft had a productive weekend, as Jerry Kelly used a Pershing 75X in his Titleist 906 3-wood (13 degree) and LPGA runner-up Suzann Pettersen had a Pershing 65S in her Nike Sumo 5000 driver (9.5 degree).

Kelly played True Temper Black Gold steel shafts in his irons. The Black Gold shafts are stepless and feature a descending weight design (lighter in short irons than long irons).

>> Briny Baird’s largest career paycheck ($501,600 for a second-place tie at the Verizon Heritage) was accompanied by some fancy work by the SeeMore Putter Co.

Baird, who had used a conventional SeeMore putter for 15 years on the PGA Tour, showed at the Verizon with an Odyssey White Hot XG No. 1 belly putter.

At its Franklin, Tenn., headquarters, SeeMore made Baird a 43.5-inch belly putter, using its M1 head. The standard SeeMore M1 head weighs 340 grams, while the heavier belly head weighs 390 grams.

The SeeMore putter arrived at Baird’s locker on Wednesday afternoon, too late to use in a practice round. So Baird started the tournament with the Odyssey. On Saturday, he switched to the SeeMore, making several long putts during the final two rounds.

Baird also altered his stance and grip, abandoning the closed stance and left-hand-low grip he used with his conventional putter.

SeeMore does not pay Baird, but, according to managing partner Jim Grundberg, “We do everything we can to take care of our guys.”

Retail price for conventional SeeMore M series putters is $325, with the belly version selling for $350.

>> Tom Lehman and Bernard Langer, winners of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, are two golfers renowned for being able to draw the ball.

Lehman used a TaylorMade R7 Super Quad driver (9.5 degree) with a Fujikura Reax TP95 shaft, while Langer played an Adams Speedline driver (9.5 degree) with a Graphite Design Purple Ice shaft.

Langer used a new prototype putter at the Liberty Mutual. It was the long version of a Heavy Putter model called the DX-3.

>> Parker McLachlin put two new Mitsubishi Rayon White Board shafts into play, a 63X in his Titleist 909 D2 driver (10.5 degree) and a 73X in his Titleist 909 F2 3-wood (15.5 degree).

>> Tiger Shark has made its first golf club appearance on the PGA Tour in several years. Robert Garrigus used a Tiger Shark GreenSpeed VS-3 putter at the Zurich Classic. The putter comes with adjustable weights and a wrench. Two models of the putter retail for $79 and $99. . . . K.J. Choi continues to use Tiger Shark’s jumbo SuperStroke putter grip.

>> Titleist domination in wedges on the PGA Tour has become dramatic in 2009. At the Zurich Classic, 205 Titleist Vokey wedges were in play, compared with 81 for TaylorMade and 75 for Cleveland. . . . The TaylorMade Tour Preferred iron was the No. 1 iron model with 19 sets in play.

>> Kenny Perry’s setup of his adjustable TaylorMade R9 driver: He uses the “N” (neutral) position with a 10-gram weight in the back and 4-degree weights in the heel and toe (standard weight configuration is 16 grams in back and 1 gram in the heel and toe).

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