Watson is Back in Action
The big story at the beginning of the Genesis Open was Tiger Woods, but by Sunday it was the win by the professional from Bagdad, Fla., Bubba Watson. He hadn’t won since the Genesis 2016 and with this victory Watson moves his wins total into double digits, two of them being the Masters in 2012 and 2014.
Television commentators and those writing for the national publications rarely talk about professionals use of specific equipment brands, much less criticism them. This is understandable of course, since network and publication income depends in part on advertising revenue from the manufacturers. So, the story of the equipment side of Bubba Watson resurgence has gone unreported or at best given a passing mention.
The 2016-2017 season for Watson was full of disappointment to say the least with only four top ten finishes and no wins, reflecting numerous issues off and on the course. Then at the Shriners Hospitals event the first week in November he did something to solve at least one of them.
He switched golf balls.
Since January 2017 Watson had been the only competitor on the PGA Tour playing the Volvik S4 4-piece ball but at the Shriners in Las Vegas he went back to the ball he had previously been playing. Specifically, the Titleist Pro V1x, the ball he used to win his two Masters even though he is not under contract with Titleist.
Ball design and materials used and therefore performance? Confidence? All of them or none? Maybe Bubba doesn’t know for sure but in any case, it’s nice to have Watson “back.”
Watson’s Winning Gear
- Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees) – Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Pink X-Flex shaft
- Fairway wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees) – Fujikura Motore Speeder 8.2 VC Tour Spec X shaft
- Hybrid: Ping G (19 degrees) – Matrix Ozik Altus Hybrid X shaft
- Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW) – True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
- Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52, 56 & 60 degrees) – True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
- Putter: Ping Anser 303SS
- Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x [insert 459371]
Lefty Too: Also, it’s nice to see another lefty, 47-year old Phil Mickelson playing well finishing in a tie for sixth making it his fourth top ten in the last four events just missing his fourth top five. Lefty’s game looks ready to win again and he is clearly brimming with confidence and with the Masters just six weeks away…well, who knows.?
Mickelson’s Callaway Bag:
- Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees) – HZRDUS T1100 shaft
- Fairway Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (13.5 degrees) – Fubuki J shaft
- Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (3-iron), Callaway Epic Pro (4-iron) and Callaway X Forged 18 (5-PW) – KBS Tour V 125 shafts
- Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (56, 60 & 64 degrees) – KBS Tour V 125 shafts
- Putter: Odyssey Versa #9 White
- Ball: Chrome Soft X
In Case Anyone Should Ask
Genesis Counts: As they are every week Pro V1 and Pro V1x were the most played ball with 94 pros teeing them up out of the field of 144 versus 22 for the second most played. The largest golf equipment company also was tops in irons with 35 sets, their Scotty Cameron putters were tied for first with 48 and Vokey Design Wedges (approach, sand and lob) were another first at 167.
TaylorMade Twist Face: The most played drivers on Tour are the TaylorMade M3 and M4 both with the Twist Face design to help compensate for hooks when the ball is hit high on the face towards the toe and slices when impact is low near the heel. The M4 is more forgiving but without the sliding weights of the M3 which allows players to work the ball more. World number one Dustin Johnson won the Tournament of Champions last month with an M4 but in LA this week went to an M3 so he could move the weights to produce more of his preferred shot shape, a cut. TMaG says the trend is more pros are going to the M3 as was seen at Riviera. At the 2016 Northern Trust Open at Riviera, there was a 1.9:2 ratio of the adjustable M1 (M3 predecessor) to the nonadjustable M4’s predecessor M2. In the 2017 Genesis Open there was a 1:1 ratio of 2017 M1 to 2017 M2, and this year, the ratio is overwhelmingly in favor of the M3 at 3:1 M3 to M4.
Tiger’s Bag: Tiger Woods missed the cut at the Genesis Open by four shots after a poor driving performance matched with mediocre putting. Until the start of the tournament his TaylorMade M3 driver had a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White shaft which was also in his fairway woods. Feeling his swing speed was getting faster a switch was made to the Matrix TPHDe shaft that he used for a few tournaments three years ago.
Tiger’s Clubs During the Honda Classic:
- Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (9.5 degrees) – Matrix Ozik TP6HDe shaft
- Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees) – Matrix Ozik TP8HDe shaft
- Driving Iron: TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDI (18 degrees) – Project X PXi 7.0 shaft
- Irons: “TGR” prototypes (3-PW) – True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
- Wedges: Nike VR Pro Forged (56 & 60 degrees) – True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts
- Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
- Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS
Custom MD 4: Callaway Customs wedges was first introduced with the Mack Daddy 3 line in our MD3 Milled line and may be purchased on their drivers and golf balls. our drivers (including Epic Red), and golf balls. And this new offering provides an ultra-premium design with, a True Temper Dynamic Gold Shaft, and Lamkin UTX grips. Callaway’s Mack Daddy 4 wedges with chrome or matte black finishes now offer eight paint fill port colors, 14 machined aluminum medallion port colors and 12 stamping color options.
Champions & LPGA Counts: Callaway tells me for the first time in 15 years they have won the driver count at a Champions Tour event, the Chubb Classic led by the new Rogue model. They were also the number one fairway wood, number one hybrid, number one iron and their Odyssey brand was number one in putters with more in play than Titleist and Taylormade combined. Over on the LPGA Tour this week Callaway was number one with 55 drivers with second place having 32. The counts of the ladies’ fairway woods, hybrids, irons and putters also came out in favor of Callaway. In fact, Odyssey putters outnumbered Titleist, Ping and Taylormade put together.