Toy Box Notes: Two-win week for Nike
Nike staff players Jhonattan Vegas and John Cook were victorious on the same weekend.
Cook, recording his sixth victory on the Champions Tour, had 13 Nike clubs in his bag, including an 8.5-degree Nike VR STR8-FIT driver and new VR Pro Blades (3-PW).
Vegas also carried 13 Nike clubs, including the same VR Pro Blades as Cook (3-PW) and an 8.5-degree VR Pro driver.
Nike’s 2011 VR products are called VR Pro. The 2010 models were VR Tour.
Vegas used Nike’s One Tour D ball, while Cook played the Nike One Tour ball. Both balls are expected to be overshadowed by Nike’s new 20X1 ball, which is scheduled to be available to consumers later this spring.
What was that putter Vegas used to make all those putts at the Bob Hope Classic, including the 13-footer to win? The putter was a Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport T-10. For five rounds of the Hope, Vegas averaged 27.4 putts per round. Vegas’ other Nike clubs were: VR Pro prototype 3-wood (15 degree), VR Pro hybrid (19 degree) and VR wedges (53 and 59 degree).
Cook’s other Nike clubs were a VR hybrid (18 degree), VR wedges (53 and 59 degree) and a Nike Method putter. He also carries a TaylorMade Burner 3-wood (13 degree).
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White is in for TaylorMade: All the major golf equipment companies bring their tour vans to PGA Tour events. TaylorMade, in sync with its introduction of white-headed drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, was set to launch a new all-white tour van at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
The busiest day of the week is Tuesday, when Tour players flock to the tour vans to try new clubs or fix old clubs. The big topic at the Hope: drivers.
At the Bob Hope Classic, Ryan Palmer sat in the TaylorMade tour van with a new Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver (9.5 degree), touting more distance with the club.
A three-time Tour winner, Palmer’s driving average at Hope was 303.2 yards. He averaged 295.8 yards all of last season.
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Callaway Prototype not for retail: In the Callaway van, players had a choice of five new drivers – four will be available to consumers.
Two of the drivers carry the Diablo Octane name, while three have Callaway’s new Razr name. The only one of the five not earmarked for retail is the 439cc Razr Hawk Prototype. However, the Razr Hawk Tour (used by Ernie Els) is slightly larger at 450cc and has a traditional hosel similar to the RH Prototype.
News from Abu Dhabi is that Callaway staffer Alvaro Quiros, one of the game’s longest hitters, switched from his Callaway FT-5 driver to the Razr Hawk Tour (8.5 degree). He averaged more than 317 yards on his tee shots.
Quiros also put a hybrid – an 18-degree Callaway Razr X Tour – in his bag for the first time.
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Short shots: Titleist easily won the putter count at the Hope, with 51 putters in play. Odyssey was second with 28. . . . TaylorMade captured the driver and fairway-wood categories, but Titleist led in balls, irons, wedges and hybrids (and sister company FootJoy was first in gloves and shoes). . . . Martin Kaymer won in Abu Dhabi with Mitsubishi’s Fubuki Alpha 70x in his TaylorMade SuperTri driver (8.5 degree). While most touring pros use heavier shafts in their fairway woods, Kaymer does not. The Fubuki Tour 70x in his TaylorMade R9 3-wood (13 degree) is the same weight as his driver shaft. . . . Quote of the week: “The reason why I changed putters is because I ain’t been making nothing,” Boo Weekley said. “You got to change it up every now and then.” Weekley used a new Never Compromise Gambler putter at the Bob Hope Classic, where he tied for 13th and averaged 29.8 putts per round. . . . Scott McCarron putts with a long TaylorMade Ghost Spider putter that is painted white – one of the few white Spiders. McCarron is fanatical about checking the putter’s loft at every tournament. This happens so often that TaylorMade clubmakers etched McCarron’s initials into the loft and lie machine at the exact 2.8-degree location.
– Sean Martin contributed