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Nike Vapor Pro, Pro Combo and Speed irons

David Dusek

NEW YORK – With Manhattan’s late-summer evening skyline serving as a backdrop, Nike Golf brought out its big names to help launch its newest family of irons Monday evening. Cindy Davis, Nike Golf’s president, introduced Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon to a crowd under a tent on the driving range at Liberty National Golf Club.

After videos flashed on oversized monitors, Fallon and McIlroy hit a few shots at glowing swooshes positioned in the range while Tiger made a few jokes about the comedian’s swing.

Tuesday morning the company was down to business in midtown Manhattan, explaining more about the new Vapor Pro blades, Vapor Pro Combo set and Vapor Speed irons.

“Vapor is incredibly important to the Nike brand,” said Rob Arluna, Nike Golf’s global golf club business manager. “What Vapor means to Nike is that it’s our pinnacle expression of innovation, and you’ll see it across a wide variety of our products. It’s the pinnacle expression, and with that there is generally one goal: to manage weight.

“In some categories like a baseball glove, shoes or soccer boots, we’re trying to create the lightest and ...

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Winner's bag: Camilo Villegas at Wyndham

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Camilo Villegas used to win the 2014 Wyndham Championship:

DRIVER: TaylorMade JetSpeed HL (13 degrees, with Matrix VLCT 60T shaft)

FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade SLDR (17 and 21 degrees, with Matrix Ozik Code 8X shafts)

HYBRID: TaylorMade SLDR Rescue (24 degrees, with Project X HB6 shaft)

IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB (5-PW, with Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts)

WEDGES: TaylorMade Tour Preferred ATV Grind (52, 58 and 60 degrees, with Project X Rifle shafts)

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Select Squareback+ prototype

BALL: TaylorMade Tour Preferred

• • •

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Winner's bag: Gunn Yang at U.S. Amateur

Adam Schupak

Here's the complete list of clubs Gunn Yang used to win the 2014 U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club:

DRIVER: TaylorMade R11 (9 degrees), with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Kai’li 70 Flex X shaft

3-WOOD: Titleist 910F (15 degrees), with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana ’ahina 72 low-mid flex X shaft

IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC (2-iron); Titleist 714 AP2 Forged (3-PW), with KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X shafts

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey SM4 (54 and 60 degrees), with KBS Hi-Rev shafts

PUTTER: TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs putter

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x


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Callaway Apex Muscleback irons

David Dusek

On the outside, designing golf clubs for mid- and high-handicap players would seem like a tougher job than creating irons for single-digit players with fast, consistent swings.

After all, companies stuff their game-improvement irons with the latest technologies, while muscleback blades looks so . . . simple. But discussions with people such as Alan Hocknell, Callaway's vice president of research and development, quickly lead to the conclusion that making clubs such as the new Callaway Apex Muscleback irons can be very tricky.

"This is really an exercise in attention to detail," Hocknell said. "We've taken feedback from tour players and advanced amateurs and put it into this iron."

To be clear, things like distance and forgiveness are not emphasized with irons such as the Apex Muscleback. Callaway is taking aim at low-handicap players, aspiring club champs and the game's discerning pros. For players seeking forgiveness or help with distance, Callaway will point toward the company's Apex irons or X2 Hot irons.

Forged from 1020 carbon steel for a softer feel, the center of gravity in the Apex Muscleback irons rises from low in the 2- and 3-iron and higher in the mid and short irons. This should make it ...

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Callaway Apex UT Irons

David Dusek

In the days leading up to the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Callaway made a new, hollow-bodied long iron available to staff players. With it, players could hit shots off the tee that wouldn't balloon in the wind.

That club, the Callaway Apex Utility Iron (UT), found its way into the bags of several players, including Branden Grace and Phil Mickelson.

The company announced Friday it will make the Apex UT available to consumers through custom order starting Sept. 12. The clubs also will be available at select Callaway dealers after that date.

What made the Apex UT appealing at Royal Liverpool might make it worth trying for single-digit-handicap players who want hybrid-like distance off the tee with iron-style workability and looks.

Available in 18-, 21- and 24-degree models, the Apex UT is forged from 455 Carpenter steel. The hitting area has a cup-face design intended to create more ball speed than a traditional cavity-back iron. Since the body is hollow, it's easier for the hitting area to flex at impact.

Callaway lowered the center of gravity (CG) with a tungsten screw in the sole to increase forgiveness and help get the ball into the air. However ...

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Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Wedges

David Dusek

It has been four years since the USGA and R&A's 2010 groove rule changes went into effect for manufacturers. Soon after, spin created by new wedge models decreased, but designers are crafty.

Now, with the release of its 588 Rotex 2.0 wedges, offered in blade and cavity back versions, Cleveland Golf promises more spin and control for golfers.

Like the previous version of the Cleveland 588 RTX wedge, the new clubs feature the company's Tour Zip Grooves. However, in the 588 Rotex 2.0 line, the grooves are 8 percent deeper. Cleveland also says the sidewalls of the grooves are slightly steeper, which makes the edges a little sharper.

Adam Sheldon, Cleveland's brand manager, said it's all about precise tolerances.

"We have improved our manufacturing standards and are literally measuring every head that comes off the process," Sheldon said. " We measure the radii on the corner of the grooves and have been able to maintain them even more tightly than before."

Sheldon said Cleveland tested grooves in a vast array of playing conditions to create the ideal blend of depth, sharpness and pattern.

"Wet conditions and dry conditions, different kinds of rough and sand ...

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Adams headquarters to close as TaylorMade consolidates

David Dusek

Adams Golf’s headquarters in Plano, Texas, will be closed, and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf faces restructuring as part of a broader strategy by parent Adidas Group to counter sagging sales.

In its “First Half Year Report,” Germany-based Adidas Group cited a sales slowdown and internal 18-month forecasts calling for continued challenges in the golf division.

Revenues at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf (which includes TaylorMade, Adams, Ashworth and Adidas Golf) decreased by 27 percent on a currency-neutral basis, compared with the first half of 2013, according to the report.

“The pronounced decrease is due to a continued weakness in the golf market, where retail inventories remain high,” the report said. “This resulted in double-digit declines in metalwoods and irons in the first half of 2014. Currency translation effects negatively impacted TaylorMade-Adidas Golf sales in euro terms. Revenues decreased 31 percent to 535 million euros (approximately $715 million) from 771 million euros ($1.03 billion) in the prior year.”

The news comes less than a month after Dick’s Sporting Goods, the largest U.S. retailer of TaylorMade products, fired nearly 500 PGA professionals who were employed in the golf sections of its 560 stores.

Adidas Group does not forecast a bounceback in sales or ...

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Winner's bag: Rory McIlroy at PGA Championship

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Rory McIlroy used to win the 2014 PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 (8.5 degrees, with Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage XTS 70X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 (15 degrees) and VR_S Covert (19 degrees), with Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 shafts

IRONS: Nike VR Pro Blades (4-9, with Project X 7.0 shafts)

WEDGES: Nike VR Forged (46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees, with Project X 6.5 shafts)

PUTTER: Nike Method 006

BALL: Nike RZN Black

• • •

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My Bag: Phil Mickelson, PGA Championship

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the club Phil Mickelson used at the 2014 PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Big Bertha Alpha (8.5 degrees, with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki J-Series 60X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway X Hot 3Deep (13 degrees, with Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki prototype shaft)

HYBRID: Callaway X2 Hot Pro (18 degrees, with a Mitsubishi Diamana Fubuki AX Hybrid 450 shaft)

IRONS: Callaway Razr X Forged (2), X Forged (4-PW), all with KBS Tour-V 125 shafts

WEDGES: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind (56 degrees) and Mack Daddy 2 (60 degrees), all with KBS Tour-V 125 shafts

PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG PM Blade

BALL: Callaway Speed Regime 3

• • •

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My Bag: Rickie Fowler, PGA Championship

David Dusek

Here's a complete list of the clubs Rickie Fowler is using at the PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Cobra BiO Cell (9.5 degrees, with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board 73X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOODS: Cobra BiO Cell (13.5, 18.5 degrees with Aldila Tour Blue TX 75 shafts)

IRONS: Cobra AMP Cell Pro (4-9 with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)

WEDGES: Cobra Tour Trusty (47, 51, 55, 59 degrees with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport prototype

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

• • •

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See all the latest Cobra gear


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My Bag: Bernd Wiesberger, PGA Championship

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Bernd Wiesberger is using at the 2014 PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Titleist 915D3 (7.5 degrees, with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana W-Series 80 X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Titleist 913F.d (13.5 degrees, with a Fujikura Rombax P95 X shaft)

IRONS: 712U (3), 714 CB (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (51 degrees, with a Project X 6.5 shaft), TVD (56) and SM4 (60) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron X5 prototype

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

• • •

Related headlines

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My Bag: Lee Westwood, PGA Championship

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Lee Westwood is using at the 2014 PGA Championship:

DRIVER: Ping G30 (10.5 degrees, with an Aldila Tour-Only XNV6 shaft)

FAIRWAY WOOD: Ping i15 (15.5 degrees bent to 15, with a UST Mamiya ProForce V2 76X shaft)

HYBRID: Ping G25 (20 degrees bent to 19, with an Aldila Tour Green 85X shaft)

IRONS: Ping i20 (4-PW, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts and Ping JZ-S grips)

WEDGES: Ping i20 (50 and 54 degrees), Tour with Gorge Grooves (60 bent to 61 degrees), all with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

PUTTER: Ping Ketsch (34 inches)

BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

• • •

Related headlines

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Callaway Big Bertha V Series Drivers

David Dusek

Early in 2014, Callaway released the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers, resurrecting one of the most iconic names in golf.

The original Big Bertha, released in 1991, put Callaway on the map. This year’s models, complete with adjustable hosel systems, movable weight and space-age materials, quickly found homes in the bags of PGA Tour players and amateurs alike.

Now, with the late-season release of the Callaway Big Bertha V Series drivers, the company plans to bring more distance off the tee to players who don't create enough ball speed to benefit from the trend toward lower-spinning drivers. In other words, this is a driver for the masses, not necessarily Tour pros.

"We believe that you need more than one driver to fit all the golfers out there," said Tim Reed, Callaway's senior vice president of product strategy and management. "At the end of the day you either need lower spin to maximize distance and/or you need more speed. There is a big contingency of players out there that will benefit from being able to swing the club faster."

In physics, V stands for velocity, and it does here too. To help golfers hit the ...

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Winner's bag: Rory McIlroy at WGC-Bridgestone

David Dusek

Here is a complete list of the clubs Rory McIlroy used to win the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational:

DRIVER: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 (8.5 degrees, with Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage XTS 70X shaft)

FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 (15 degrees) and VR_S Covert (19 degrees), with Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 shafts

IRONS: Nike VR Pro Blades (4-9, with Project X 7.0 shafts)

WEDGES: Nike VR Forged (46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees, with Project X 6.5 shafts)

PUTTER: Nike Method 006

BALL: Nike RZN Black

• • •

Related items:


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Tiger reveals "new" driver in play at Bridgestone

Nick Masuda

It's no secret that Tiger Woods has been struggling with his driver since returning from back surgery, but he revealed that he also has put a "new" driver in play this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

According to Nike, Woods is using a Nike VR_S Covert Tour 9.5-degree driver with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board 73X shaft – the same one he used last year to win at Bridgestone.

In recent tournaments, Woods had been using the Nike VRS Covert 2.0.

"I went back to my old driver from last year. (It) has a lighter shaft in it. I like the driver I’ve been using, but I didn’t want to tinker around with it and put a new shaft in and ruin the club," Woods said after posting a 2-over 72 on Saturday that dropped him to 1 over for the tournament.

"I figured the lighter shaft should help me out a little bit, get some speed back, because I’m just not quite as explosive as I need to be."

Woods is struggling to find the fairway off the tee - mostly with driver – hitting just 18 of 42 through three rounds, including three on ...

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