TaylorMade SLDR MiniDriver spotted at Augusta

After discretely being added to the USGA's list of conforming driver heads Feb. 17, the TaylorMade SLDR MiniDriver could appear in pros' bags during the Masters at Augusta National.

— TaylorMade’s SLDR MiniDriver already has gotten a workout on Tour, and it might find its way into several bags this week at Augusta National. On Monday, TaylorMade announced the small-headed wood becomes available to consumers May 2.

The size of the MiniDriver head is 260 cubic centimeters. It is made of stainless steel. Lofts of 12, 14 and 16 degrees will be available. The normal SLDR head is 460 cc, and TaylorMade also offers a 430 cc model.

Golfweek reported on the MiniDriver at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, but at that time TaylorMade would not answer key questions about the size, loft and other specifications. So it remained something of a mystery. Until now.

Here at the Masters, where Justin Rose is carrying the MiniDriver in practice rounds, TaylorMade said the cost will be $279 for the regular model (with a proprietary Fujikura 57 shaft) and $379 for a Tour Preferred model (Fujikura Motore Speeder 7.3 shaft). The only difference between the two is the shaft.

TaylorMade constructed two Mini drivers for Rose. Both were marked 12 degrees, although the actual lofts were 11.75 and 13.0 degrees.

Rose elected to carry the higher lofted one in Masters practice rounds. TaylorMade officials think he will use it in the Masters – leaving his 3-wood out of the bag – but they are reluctant to talk about this possibility until it actually happens.

"I hit it 10 yards farther than my 3-wood," said Rose, who indicated he might use it off the tee on shorter, tighter holes at Augusta National.

The versatile MiniDriver is designed to be hit from the tee or fairway.

"You are going to see a lot more of these clubs out there (on the PGA Tour)," Rose predicted.

Here's more of what we know:

• Troy Matteson carried two MiniDrivers at the same time in the Valero Texas Open. He used a 10.5 version off the tee and a 12-degree version from the fairway.

• J.B. Holmes removed a driving iron from his bag and added an 11-degree MiniDriver in last week in Houston.

• Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington has experimented with a 12-degree MiniDriver.

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