Toy Box notes: Grooves? What grooves?
Scott Langley, the NCAA individual champion from the University of Illinois, played old grooves in his Ping S57 irons and Tour-W wedges to win the national championship with scores of 70-68-68.
The next week, he was required to use new grooves in a sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open. No problem. Direct from the Ping factory came identical S57 irons and Tour-W wedges, albeit with the smaller grooves.
Langley shot 66-66 to qualify for his first U.S. Open appearance.
The NCAA, along with other top amateur events, will not require the new grooves until 2014 under U.S. Golf Association guidelines.
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Coming up short: If you thought Robert Garrigus came up a little short in his strategic thinking while playing the 72nd hole at Memphis, how about his short putter? Garrigus normally plays with a 28-inch putter, but went up 11⁄2 inches at the HP Byron Nelson to the 29.5-inch model he was using at TPC Southwind. The putter is a Titleist Scotty Cameron Kombi-S.
The average length for conventional-style putters on the PGA Tour is about 34.5 inches, so Garrigus’ putter still was 5 inches shorter than standard.
The rest of Garrigus’ bag: TaylorMade R9 SuperTri driver (8.5 degree), TaylorMade Tour Burner 3-wood (14.5), TaylorMade Rescue TP FCT hybrids (19 and 22), TaylorMade R9 irons (4-pitch), Mizuno MP T-10 wedges (56 and 60) and Titleist Pro V1 ball.
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Westwood: A company man: St. Jude Classic winner Lee Westwood is a manufacturer’s dream. The longtime Ping staff member used 14 Ping clubs (along with a Titleist Pro V1x ball) to claim his second PGA Tour victory.
Westwood’s bag: G10 driver (9 degree), i15 3-wood (15.5), Rapture V2 5-wood (19), i10 irons (3-PW), Tour-W wedges (54 and 58) and Redwood Anser putter.
Westwood uses Ping JZ steel shafts in his irons. The JZ, manufactured for Ping by True Temper, is strong enough for a hulk such as Westwood, yet is known as one of the softest-feeling steel shafts.
Westwood, a longtime user of Aldila’s NV shaft, used the NV in his 5-wood and the NV VooDoo in his driver. He used a UST Mamiya Proforce V2 shaft in his 3-wood.
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Karlsson goes superlight with shafts: Robert Karlsson, who lost in a playoff to Lee Westwood at the St. Jude Classic, is one of the few players in professional golf to use the Dynamic Gold Superlite steel shaft in his irons. The Superlite, made by True Temper, has a reputation as a solid choice for amateurs with slower clubhead speed.
Karlsson’s bag: Titleist 909D3 driver (9.5 degree), Titleist 909F3 fairway woods (13 and 18 degree), Titleist 2010 MB irons (4-PW), Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C wedges (50, 56, 60 degree), Scotty Cameron G55 putter and Titleist Pro V1x ball.
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On the Marx: Thomas Bjorn and Cristie Kerr both used Odyssey’s new Backstryke Marxman putter to win events.
Kerr, a longtime user of the Odyssey 2-Ball, recently tested “about 20 putters” from the pro shop at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., where she practices when at her New York home.
The Marxman, which has an extended mallet head, “was the last putter that I picked up.”
After having one of the correct length sent to her, Kerr said, “It felt like I was hitting the putts consistently, whereas before I had struggled with hitting one way too hard or way too soft. I felt like I was hitting the same putt over and over again, and that’s how you make a lot of putts.”
Kerr needed only 110 putts and tied for eighth in putting average (27.5) in winning the LPGA’s State Farm Classic. Bjorn tied for third in putting average (28.0) in his victory at the European Tour’s Estoril Open.
The rest of Bjorn’s Callaway bag in Portugal: FT Tour driver (9.5 degree), Diablo Edge Tour 3-wood (15 degree), Heavenwood hybrid (20 degree, bent strong), Diablo Edge Tour hybrid (21 degree), X Prototype irons (3-9), X-Forged wedges (50, 56 and 60 degree) and a Tour i(z) ball.
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Short shots: Robert Garrigus isn’t the only Tour player using the new Mizuno MP T-10 wedges. Luke Donald, a Mizuno staffer, has switched to the company’s MP T-10s wedges after realizing he no longer needed a special grind – the wedges fit him perfectly, right off the shelf. ... Heading into the U.S. Open, the top three players on the FedEx Cup points list all use Callaway FT Tour drivers – Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson.