Toy Box notes: Callaway lands another major
Graeme McDowell’s U.S. Open victory gave Callaway Golf its second consecutive major championship (joining Masters champion Phil Mickelson). For starters, McDowell hit 66 percent of the fairways with a Callaway FT-3 driver (9.5 degree, Aldila VooDoo SVS6 graphite shaft).
Callaway has added two more generations of FT drivers since the FT-3 (FT-5 and FT-9), but McDowell has stuck with the earlier model.
McDowell’s strong 4-wood (15 degree) was a Callaway X model with a Aldila RIP 80 graphite shaft (second-generation Beta version). His other equipment: Adams Idea Pro hybrids (18, 21 degree), Callaway X-Forged irons (4-9) and X-Forged wedges (48, 52, 58 degree), Odyssey White Hot No. 7 putter and Callaway Tour ix ball.
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What a difference a decade makes: An analysis of U.S. Open equipment usage, according to the Darrell Survey, reveals how much professional golf has changed in the past 10 years. A comparison of the clubs used at the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Opens, both held at Pebble Beach:
• 45 more wedges in play in 2010 than in 2000.
• In 2000, only one contestant carried four wedges. This year, 26 golfers had four.
• In 2000, 64 players had a complete 2-9 iron set. In 2010, that number fell to eight.
• A 4-9 set was used by 12 players in 2000 and 43 players in 2010. Preference for 5-9 sets increased similarly: 4 in 2000, 18 this year.
• Looking at woods and hybrids combined, only one player had four or more in 2000. This year, 31 players carried four or more.
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Havret plays new Pings: Ping S56 irons, not yet available to consumers, were used by Angel Cabrera, Gregory Havret and Louis Oosthuizen at Pebble Beach.
The S56 is similar to the S57, with larger stabilizing bars on the back. Havret, who finished second at the U.S. Open, talked about how easily the iron slides through the turf.
New Tour-S wedges from Ping were in the bags of Cabrera (54 and 60 degree), Havret (52 and 58) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (52 and 60).
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Shaft guy: Nobody switches iron shafts more frequently than Vijay Singh. He has used Apollo’s Hump shaft, Element 21’s Scandium shaft and the venerable Rifle shaft in the past two years. At the U.S. Open, he played Nippon NS Prototype shafts.
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Learn from a touring pro: Jim Furyk, after playing the first two rounds of the U.S. Open with Angel Cabrera and Retief Goosen, talked about bag configuration.
“With that back-left pin, I don’t think I could ever hit the green with the clubs I have in my bag,” said Furyk, reflecting honestly on the par-3 17th. “I watched both Cabrera and Goosen hit 3-irons in there about 8 feet (from the hole), but I don’t hit my 3-iron like that (explosively long with a high draw). And I can’t put enough spin on my hybrid to hold the green. So the best way for me to make par is to hit the ball in the front-left bunker.”
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Els’ wedges: Ernie Els used new Callaway Vintage X-Forged wedges (54 and 56 degree) at the U.S. Open, but they weren’t standard clubs. The bounce was moved toward the sole of both wedges, and the 56-degree wedge was bent to 59 degrees.
When the loft of any iron or wedge is increased, the bounce angle also increases. So the 56/14 wedge (14 degrees of bounce) ended up as roughly a 59/16 wedge.
X-Men: The similarity between Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson goes beyond their Callaway staff affiliation. Both use Project X steel iron shafts from True Temper.
McDowell’s iron shafts are Project X Flighted 6.5; Mickelson has the original Project X 7.0.
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2-iron mania: Although 2-iron usage has dipped dramatically on the PGA Tour, a small army of players added the club for the U.S. Open. To make room in their bags, many left out the 3-iron.
Members of the Pebble Beach 2-iron club: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Angel Cabrera, Davis Love III, Alvaro Quiros, Edoardo Molinari, Francesco Molinari, Jason Allred, Gary Boyd, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Michael Campbell, Stewart Cink, Rhys Davies, Brian Davis, Ross Fisher, David Frost, J.J. Henry, Jim Herman, Ryo Ishikawa, Thongchai Jaidee, Martin Kaymer, Derek Lamely, Marc Leishman, Hugo Leon, Pablo Martin, Shaun Micheel, Louis Oosthuizen, Bo Van Pelt, Lee Westwood and Gary Woodland.
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Short shots: Fred Funk and Peter Hanson switched to heel-shafted Rossa Corza Ghost putters at the Open. ... K.J. Choi (8.5 degree) and Luke Donald (9.5 degree) played new TaylorMade Burner SuperFast drivers.