Toy Box notes: Watney relies on Titleist gear
Nick Watney used Titleist AP2 irons in his victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, but he made a strategic change in his set makeup before the tournament.
Watney added an AP2 3-iron, replacing a 910F 5-wood (19-degree). He said he made the switch to be prepared for several penetrating shots in the 220-yard range.
All Watney’s irons (3-PW) are 1 degree weak. Why? Because his ball flight is low and he wants a higher trajectory and slightly more spin.
Watney, a Titleist staff player, also used the company’s 910D3 driver (10.5 degree), 910F 3-wood (15 degree), 910H hybrid (21 degree), Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges (54- and 60-degree) and a Scotty Cameron Tour 350 putter. He plays a Titleist Pro V1x ball.
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Tiger tries to find right putter: At the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Tiger Woods carried his trusty Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 (used in 13 of his 14 major victories) during the first two rounds and a Nike Method 003 during the final two rounds.
Putting statistics can be misleading, depending heavily on total greens hit and distance from the hole, but Woods had 63 putts in the first two rounds and 53 in the last two.
The Method 003 is a mini-mallet. The face is a combination of sharp-edged grooves and polymer.
Woods, admittedly a fan of fast greens, has had trouble on slower greens such as those at Doral. The Nike putter is designed to reduce backspin and provide more rollout on putts.
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Furyk still looking for right stick: Jim Furyk, PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2010, has become a certified putter switcher. He has changed putters at least four times this year, taking another new putter into battle at Doral – an Odyssey Backstryke Sabertooth.
“I got the ball on line this week better than I have in a lot of weeks,” said Furyk, who tied for 49th. “I didn’t make a lot of putts, and I’m not going to say I putted even well this week, but I putted much better and I felt like I had the opportunity. I was getting balls up there around the hole and giving them an opportunity to go in.”
He tied for 31st in putts per round (27.8).
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New irons, ball for Stricker: Steve Stricker is using new irons and a new ball. His irons are the popular Titleist AP2 model, and his ball is the new 2011 version of the Titleist Pro V1x.
He is not sure what has produced a more penetrating ball flight, but he is happy with the result.
“I’ve been working on a few things, and I’ve been tinkering a little bit,” Stricker said. “This new (equipment) setup I have is pretty good.”
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Short shots: Two other Titleist Scotty Cameron putters, in addition to Watney’s model, made their way into the winner’s circle over the weekend: Nick Price used a Circa 62 at the Toshiba Classic, and Michael Bradley used a Newport Fastback at the Puerto Rico Open. . . . Want evidence that driver shafts are getting lighter? At the Puerto Rico Open, three of the top six (Troy Matteson, Hunter Haas, Bobby Gates) played Aldila driver shafts weighing 65 grams or less. Matteson (Titleist 910D3, 8.5 degree) used the NV 65, while Haas (Titleist 909D3, 10.5 degree) and Gates (Titleist 910D3, 9.5 degree) used the RIP 60. . . . TaylorMade technicians bent Jason Day’s TaylorMade Burner 2.0 driver (10.5 degree) 1 1/2 degrees upright. This solved Day’s occasional problem of heel hits, and he consistently was carrying the ball 300 yards on the practice range at Doral. . . . To contend with less-aggressive grooves and less spin, some players are switching wedges every tournament or two. TaylorMade players Dustin Johnson, Rory Sabbatini, Camilo Villegas and Ryan Palmer all received new faces for their xFT interchangeable-face wedges. . . . Rory McIlroy also used a new putter at Doral – a Titleist Scotty Cameron Del Mar prototype mallet. Meanwhile, Anders Hansen, who tied for third at Doral, started the tournament with an Odyssey White Ice Sabertooth but switched after one round to an Odyssey White Ice No. 7.
– Alex Micel contributed