Toy Box: Rookie Ernst wins with Ping
Derek Ernst, the rookie winner of the Wells Fargo Championship, had 14 Ping clubs in his bag. He followed fellow Ping staff player Billy Horschel, who won a week earlier in New Orleans.
Ernst’s bag: i20 driver (9.5 degree, with Ping TFC 707-X shaft); i15 3-wood (14 degree, with Grafalloy ProLite Red X shaft); Anser hybrid (17 degree, with Oban Kiyoshi X shaft); S56 irons (3-PW, with Project X 6.5 shafts); Ping Tour wedges with Gorge Grooves (54 and 58 degree, with Project X 6.5 shafts); and Ping Scottsdale TR Greyhawk putter (35 inch). He used a Titleist Pro V1x ball.
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Nike gains Covert converts: The company’s staff players continue to switch to the VR_S Covert driver. The latest, at the Wells Fargo Championship, were Stephen Ames and Scott Brown. Ames played a 9.5-degree model (Accra prototype X shaft), while Brown went with a 10.5-degree driver (Mitsubishi Diamana ’ilima 60-X shaft).
World No. 2 Rory McIlroy also is using the VR_S Covert driver. McIlroy’s 10.5-degree model has a Mitsubishi Diamana prototype 70-X shaft.
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Spheres of influence: The Titleist Pro V1x and Pro V1 franchises combined for eight victories on various pro tours last weekend.
From the PGA Tour to the Asian Tour, Pro V1x recorded seven victories. Cristie Kerr represented the Pro V1, using it to win on the LPGA.
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Phrankenwood update: Phil Mickelson continued to use his personalized Callaway X Hot Phrankenwood driver at the Wells Fargo Championship, although he switched from a Mitsubishi Fubuki K 70-X shaft to a Mitsubishi Diamana Kai’li 60-XX shaft.
Mickelson unveiled the club at the Masters. Callaway officials say the unique driver, with a clubhead less than 300cc and a loft of 8.5 degree, will not be sold to consumers.
Mickelson also carried a 13-degree X Hot 3Deep 3-wood.
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Short shots: Of 38 Odyssey putters in play at the Wells Fargo, 35 had some kind of insert – including Mickelson’s putter, which was an Odyssey No. 9 (34 inches, 3.5-degree loft, 75-degree lie). The steel shaft, painted black, is the same shaft used in the Odyssey ProType putter. . . . All 20 TaylorMade golf ball users at the Wells Fargo Championship chose the company’s Lethal ball. The Lethal officially was unveiled at the Wells Fargo, although it has been in play all season. . . . Rife, whose 2 Bar putter has been carried by several Champions Tour winners, scored a victory with a different putter at the over-50 circuit’s Insperity Championship, when Esteban Toledo used a Rife Island Series Aruba putter to win a playoff. . . . Sean O’Hair played a new TaylorMade R1 driver at the Wells Fargo. According to O’Hair, he wanted a flatter ball flight with a draw tendency. The adjustable driver was set to 9.5 degree, with a neutral sole plate. The weighting scheme: 8 grams (heel) and 4 grams (toe). . . . Bo Van Pelt switched putters for the first time since early 2012. Van Pelt, who had been using a TaylorMade Ghost Tour Corza, turned to a Ghost Spider S with a 71-degree lie angle, 3 degrees of loft, and an E0 swingweight.... Brett Rumford wore the FootJoy Icon shoes in his Volvo China Open triumph.