Toy Box: Mahan wins two titles with Ping

Hunter Mahan watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Houston Open.

Mahan’s two titles with Ping

Hunter Mahan won for the second time in 2012 at the Shell Houston Open. Mahan won with the same Ping clubs he had in his bag for his victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February.

Mahan’s winning bag (all Ping except his golf ball): G20 driver (9.5 degree), G20 3-wood (15 degree), i15 hybrid (17 degree), S56 irons (3-PW), Anser Forged wedges (56 and 60 degree), Nome 355 putter. He plays a Titleist Pro V1x ball.

Mahan tied for first in greens in regulation (with Bud Cauley), hitting 86.1 percent.

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Augusta on their minds

Johnson Wagner visited the TaylorMade tour van in Houston and asked for a driver that would fit the second hole at Augusta National (as well as other right-to-left holes).

In other words, Wagner wanted a driver with a tight “power draw” to use on the dogleg-left hole. He ended up with an RBZ Tour driver (8.25 degree). The face was closed slightly at address.

Several players in Houston experimented with wedges for Augusta. Stewart Cink, for example, received four new wedges from the Nike tour van: 48, 52, 56 and 60 degree VR Pro models with a black oxide finish and X3X grooves. To make room for four wedges, Cink’s 3-iron was bent 2 degrees weaker, allowing him to take out his 4-iron. Also, Phil Mickelson received a new slate Jaws wedge from Callaway (52-degree loft, 12-degree bounce).

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Villegas goes conventional

We hear of PGA Tour players switching to belly putters, but one well-known player is switching back – from a belly to a conventional putter. Camilo Villegas putted with a conventional 35-inch TaylorMade Ghost Spider at the Shell Houston Open. Previously, Villegas had putted with two TaylorMade belly putters – a Ghost Manta belly and Ghost Tour Corza belly – and he posted a season-low 63 with the Ghost Manta at the Humana Challenge. He missed the cut at Houston (71-72).

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Perez’s onset/offset irons

Almost all irons have some degree of offset built in, but Pat Perez has been using onset (with the leading edge in front of the hosel) TaylorMade R9 TP blade irons.

At Houston, he switched. He said he wanted to move the ball in both directions (onset promotes a fade). His new irons were TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC forged irons with a slight offset. Perez also requested an offset bend on his wedges.

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Short shots

Eight of the top 10 players at the Kraft Nabisco Championship used Titleist golf balls. . . . Y.E. Yang and Sean O’Hair switched from TaylorMade’s Penta TP ball to the new Penta TP5. . . . Heading into the Masters, Phil Mickelson was using KBS Tour V2 steel iron shafts. He hit 75 percent of the greens at Houston.

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