Stenson's Yes! Putter leads to win at the Players.
>> What’s in a name? Henrik Stenson won The Players Championship with a putter named Donna. It came from Yes! Golf.
Yes! is fond of naming its putters after women, and Retief Goosen won both his U.S. Open titles with a Yes! putter named Tracy.
Goosen’s wife also is named Tracy. Stenson’s wife is named Emma. Oops.
Donna is not just another pretty face. She has a stainless-steel body with an aircraft-grade-aluminum face. Its head weighs 355 grams and is face-balanced.
Stenson has perfected his putting with Phil Kenyon, his instructor, and Harold Swash, designer of the original C-Groove putters from Yes! Golf.
Stenson switched to the Donna model after last fall’s Ryder Cup and also used the putter in winning the World Cup (with Robert Karlsson) and the Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge in South Africa.
>> Stenson played a Srixon Z-Star golf ball and Srixon I-506 forged irons (3-PW) in his victory at TPC Sawgrass.
The rest of his clubs: Callaway FT-3 driver, Callaway Big Bertha 3-wood and 5-wood, Callaway X-Tour 54-degree and 58-degree wedges.
Stenson clearly is a man who sticks with what brought him to the dance. The FT-3 driver is from 2005, and the Big Bertha fairway woods are from ’04.
>> Cristie Kerr won the Michelob Ultra Open with a 54-degree sand wedge that featured a sole grind called Dog. The grind came from Scratch Golf, maker of the wedge.
Kerr’s Dog grind was done by Jeff McCoy, vice president of manufacturing and master grinder for Scratch. McCoy has an engineering degree from Ferris State University and an affinity for naming all his grinds.
Not only did Kerr go into battle with a 54-degree Dog, but she also carried a Scratch 60-degree Spoon. The Dog grind has 10 degrees of bounce with a moderate amount of camber (roundness of the sole). The Spoon grind has 8 degrees of bounce with maximum camber.
>> John Daly used Boccieri Golf’s Heavy Putter K4 Mid-Weight Series model in his second-place finish at the Italian Open, where he was in the top 25 in putts per round and putts per greens in regulation.
The new Mid-Weight models weigh 750 grams, more than conventional brands but less than the original Heavy Putter. The K4 model is the classic “toe-droop” blade-style putter.
>> Titleist and TaylorMade once again were dominant in the overall equipment count. Titleist was No. 1 in golf balls, irons, wedges and putters, while TaylorMade was on top in drivers and fairway woods.
Of 97 players who used Titleist golf balls at The Players, 61 played the Pro V1x and 36 played the Pro V1.
Golf balls: Titleist 97, Callaway 16, Nike 11, Srixon 9, TaylorMade 8, Bridgestone 4
Drivers: TaylorMade 52, Titleist 36, Callaway 15, Nike 11, Cleveland 10.
Putters: Titleist 55, Odyssey 34, Ping 16, TaylorMade 9, Never Compromise 8.
Irons: Titleist 40, TaylorMade 33, Callaway 15, Ping 12, Cleveland 11, Nike 11.
Hybrids: Adams 32, TaylorMade 27, Titleist 22.
Fairway woods: TaylorMade 103, Titleist 54, Adams 36, Callaway 34, Nike 18.
Wedges (sand, lob, approach): Titleist 131, Cleveland 50, Callaway 40, TaylorMade 37, Nike 24, Ping 16.
Gloves: FootJoy 59, Titleist 37, Callaway 15, Nike 10.
Shoes: FootJoy 91, Adidas 26, Nike 12.
>> Natalie Gulbis practically put a whole new set of clubs into play at the Michelob Ultra Open. Frustrated with hitting her irons left, Gulbis spent four days at the TaylorMade testing center after the Kraft Nabisco Championship and went home with three sets of irons, six drivers and 15 wedges to test with her instructor, Butch Harmon.
In the end, Gulbis settled on an R9 driver (10.5 degree) and a set of Burner irons (4-9). She also added a 62-degree wedge, giving her four wedges for the first time in her career.
“That 62-degree wedge saved a lot of shots,” she said.
Gulbis, who tied for seventh at 9 under, said the R9 driver added 10 yards on the fly at soggy Kingsmill. She took her 19-degree Rescue club and her 5-wood out of her bag to add a 4-iron and the new wedge.
>> Kevin Na, who stayed in the Acushnet family but switched from being a Cobra to a Titleist staff player during the off-season, still carries a 13-degree Cobra X-Speed fairway wood (with Matrix Ozik Code 7 shaft) and replaced his Titleist AP2 3-iron in lieu of a Cobra Baffler Pro 20-degree hybrid (with Dynamic Gold shaft) for Quail Hollow and The Players.
>> Rife, known for dominating the putter count on the Champions Tour, came out swinging on the PGA Tour at The Players Championship.
Alexander Cejka, who goes back and forth between a conventional Titleist Scotty Cameron putter and a belly-length Rife, put the Rife Two Bar Hybrid Mallet into play and built a five-shot lead after 54 holes.
Cejka paid a visit to the Cameron Putter Studio before The Players, used a Cameron putter early in the week, then switched to the Rife putter on Wednesday.
Cejka’s Rife belly putter is 41 inches. He prefers a lighter head, so the Two Bar Hybrid Mallet head weighs 345 grams (as opposed to about 400 grams for most belly putters).
>> Ian Poulter, The Players runner-up, used a Rife Island Series Antigua putter. Another Englishman, Justin Rose, switched back to Rife and used a Mr. Beasley model (sometimes called an Aussie Mallet).
>> The 2009 Nike One Tour ball is attracting many Nike staff players.
Among the latest to switch: Stewart Cink, who went from the One Tour D to the One Tour. Other One Tour users at The Players Championship included Tiger Woods, Stephen Ames, Paul Casey, K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Carl Pettersson and Bo Van Pelt.
The One Tour is slightly softer and spins more than the One Tour D.
>> In anticipation of firm, hard-to-hold greens at TPC Sawgrass, several TaylorMade players asked for more-lofted fairway woods and hybrids for a higher, softer-landing flight.
Sergio Garcia put an R9 5-wood in his bag, and Retief Goosen switched his R9 4-wood for an R9 5-wood. Scott Verplank replaced his 3-iron with a 22-degree Rescue 2009. Martin Laird replaced his 2-iron with a Tour Burner 5-wood. Steve Lowery requested a 22-degree Rescue 2009.
– James Achenbach, Sean Martin and Beth Ann Baldry