Toy Box notes: Wilson’s golden moment

Mark Wilson during the Sony Open.

Mark Wilson during the Sony Open.

You might say Mark Wilson predicted his victory in the Sony Open.

Before the tournament, here was Wilson’s Twitter entry: “The 2011 PGA TOUR season starts this week for me. Time to make some extra work for Ping, as in building a new gold putter.”

Wilson was referring to the gold-plated replica putters made by Ping for all golfers who win on major tours around the world.

Want to buy a duplicate of Wilson’s original Karsten Series Anser putter? No problem. They are available at retail for $89.

This putter should not be confused with the newest family of putters from Ping – the Karsten Series 1959. These putters are 2011 models that are appearing at retail.

The original Karsten Series has another prominent user, Martin Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA Championship with a Karsten Series Anser 2.

• • •

Mixed bag, winning results: If a lesson is to be learned from Wilson’s assortment of clubs, it is this: Every golfer should find clubs that feel comfortable, even if the set ends up as a mixture of different brands or models.

Wilson still uses Ping i10 irons (4-PW), even though the company has introduced at least five new sets of irons (i15, G15, Anser, S56, K15) since the i10 first appeared.

His driver is a Ping i15 (8 degree), and he carries two i15 hybrids (17 and 20 degree). His 3-wood is a Cleveland HiBore XLS (13 degree).

With his wedges, Wilson employs a unique configuration – 52 and 60 degrees (both Ping Tour Wedges, a model which preceded the Tour-W). An 8-degree separation between wedges is extremely unusual. Many Tour players use a 54/60 or 56/60 combination. Wilson’s ball was the 2009 model of the Titleist Pro V1x.

If you’re really paying attention, you noticed Wilson wore FootJoy ICON No. 52308 shoes (black with a dark brown snake print) and a FootJoy SciFlex glove.

• • •

Clark’s new gear lands top finish: Sony Open runner-up Tim Clark, a newly signed Titleist staff player, had 710 CB irons in his bag (4-9) plus three Vokey wedges (48, 54 and 60 degree). He had a 910 D3 driver (10.5 degree), and a 910F 3-wood (15 degree).

Clark’s non-Titleist clubs were an old Callaway Steelhead Plus 5-wood (18 degree) and a TaylorMade Rescue FW Dual hybrid (19 degree). Clark played the 2011 model of the Titleist Pro V1.

A lesson here: When golfers compare fairway woods and hybrids, they should look at carry distance and not loft. Because they have longer shafts, fairway woods tend to go farther than hybrids. Thus, Clark can carry an 18-degree fairway wood and 19-degree hybrid.

• • •

Short shots: Numbers for the new Titleist 910 family in play at the Sony: 32 drivers, 25 fairway woods and 32 hybrids.

• From the League of White-Headed Drivers, here are TaylorMade driver numbers from Sony: 16 players used the new R11 driver, while four other players used the new Burner 2.0.

• A wavering Jim Furyk kept TaylorMade clubmakers busy with his driver choice – he wanted one of each, a 9-degree R11 and 9.5-degree Burner 2.0. With the R11, Furyk ended up with one 14-gram weight in the toe and a 6-gram weight in the heel (which produces your basic fade bias). So which did he use in competition? The Burner.

• At the Cellarbrations Victorian PGA Championship, winner James Nitties played Titleist’s new 2011 Pro V1x ball.

• OK, he’s not the most consistent putter in the world, but he is compelling. Ernie Els, who travels with two different Odyssey putters, cut a half-inch off both putters, reducing them to 35.5 inches. Callaway clubmakers then reweighted the heads with lead (not lead tape). The two models are the PT 10 and White Hot No. 5. Els used the White Hot at Sony.

• Charl Schwartzel carried 14 Nike clubs and wore Nike Lunar Control shoes in winning the Joburg Open. Schwartzel carried a VR Tour driver (8.5 degree), SQ II fairway woods (13 and 19 degree), VR Blades (3-PW), VR wedges (54 and 60 degrees) and a Nike Method 004 putter.

• Mitsubishi Rayon won the driver shaft count at the Sony Open with 23.6 percent of the field using MRC driver shafts. Each of the top-five finishers at the Sony used an Aldila graphite shaft. Wilson had an Aldila NV 95 shaft in his Cleveland 3-wood.

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