Toy Box: Woods changes driver shaft

Tiger Woods pulled away from the field after being tied with three others through 14 holes, winning his second Players Championship title in the process.

Tiger Woods pulled away from the field after being tied with three others through 14 holes, winning his second Players Championship title in the process.

At The Players Championship, Tiger Woods didn’t need his driver much with firm course conditions permitting him to boom his 3-wood and 5-wood prodigious lengths. But to better tackle a tight TPC Sawgrass course, he switched to a heavier driver shaft, from 63 grams (Graphite Design Tour AD Di6-X) to 73 grams (Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73-X).

His previous three victories in 2013 came with the lighter Graphite Design shaft in his Nike VR Tour driver (8.5 degree). In general, heavier driver shafts translate into improved accuracy.

The rest of Woods’ all-Nike bag: VR_S Covert fairway woods (15 and 19 degree, with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board 103-X shafts); VR Pro Blades (3-PW, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts); VR Pro wedges (56 and 60 degree, with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts); Method 001 putter. He played a Nike One Tour D golf ball.

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Mitsubishi wins driver-shaft count: It was a strong week at TPC Sawgrass for Mitsubishi Rayon, which won the driver-manufacturer shaft count. In addition to Woods, other top-10 finishers using Mitsubishi driver shafts were Sergio Garcia, Ben Crane, Rory McIlroy and Casey Wittenberg.

Roberto Castro, playing a Mitsubishi Diamana ’ilima 70-X in his TaylorMade R11 driver, tied the course record with a 63 in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Garcia employed an unconventional wood-shaft setup at The Players, using 103-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 103-X shafts in his TaylorMade R1 driver and his two RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods (14.5 and 19.5 degree). Garcia is one of a few touring professionals to play the same shaft in his driver and fairway woods.

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Scott showcases all-around game: Titleist staff player Adam Scott, playing for the first time since his Masters victory, tied for 19th but finished among the top 10 in five performance categories: first in total driving, second in driving distance, tie for eighth in driving accuracy, tie for fifth in greens in regulation and ninth in total putting.

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TaylorMade’s Spider putters represented: Roberto Castro switched to a counterbalanced Daddy Long Legs putter from TaylorMade (38 inches, 71-degree lie angle, 3-degree loft). He totaled 26 putts while shooting 63. Justin Rose putted with a TaylorMade Spider Blade prototype (34.5 inches, 70.5-degree lie angle, 3.5-degree loft). Rose’s model is all white, although the consumer version of the putter features black and white contrasting colors. Martin Kaymer also used a Spider Blade; his was a 37-inch counterbalanced model.

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Short shots: In the official grip count at The Players, Golf Pride had 111 players using its grips – among them was Tiger Woods, who used Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord grips. He has used them throughout his professional career. . . . Of the 145 players in the field, 89 played Titleist golf balls. . . . TaylorMade was No. 1 in drivers (61) and fairway woods (78). . . . In the mix-and-match iron-shafts category, lefty Brian Harman used True Temper Dynamic Gold Pro steel shafts in his 4- and 5-irons, and played Dynamic Gold S300 in the rest of his TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour irons.

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