What’s in the Team USA Winning Bags?
The routing of the International Team by the USA squad in the Presidents Cup was a foregone conclusion but we thought it would interesting to take a look at the equipment used, specifically the drivers and golf balls.
Callaway Golf wins the driver count with nine players though the company in their count evidentially only includes those on their professional endorsement staff which would make the number as eight. For some reason they ignored Hideki Matsuyama who does not play their current model Epic driver but the Great Big Bertha from 2015. He has an endorsement contract with Srixon playing their irons, wedges and golf ball.
TaylorMade Golf, who always wins the weekly driver count on Tour, had six players while Titleist could say they had four. Bridgestone, Cobra, Ping, PXG and Srixon had one player each.
Titleist Pro V1/Pro V1x of course was the most played ball with 11 players. Callaway users came next with six (Chrome Soft or Chrome Soft X) followed by TMaG’s three players. The rest: Srixon-2, Nike-1 and Bridgestone-1.
Callaway and Titleist were the most played in drivers and golf balls reflecting retail sales where Callaway is on top in club sales and Titleist a commanding lead in balls. However, don’t attach too much significance to what the professionals are using since to a large degree it’s more a matter of how much they get paid rather than what works. With their talent and training they probably could break par with a rock tied to the end of a stick hitting a featherie.
And finally, counting regular events and those tournaments tagged as “opposite field tournaments” the driver count for the 2016-2017 season was a runaway for TaylorMade with 21 victories followed by 11 for Callaway players and 9 for those using a Titleist driver. Considering golf balls Titleist counted 24 wins, TaylorMade nine, Callaway six and Srixon five. Interestingly, and this is a little harder to track because putters are changed so often, Scotty Cameron putters can boast 22 wins and Odyssey 13 with TaylorMade flat sticks having nine.
Presidents Cup by the Numbers: This past week was the one year anniversary of Arnold Palmer’s death and the Presidents Cup honored The King in a number of ways including a team staff bag with his name on it. But his grandson Sam Saunders took a giant step accomplishing something his grandfather never did in competition. Saunders, who barely missed retaining his spot on Tour by four places in the FedEx Cup standings, shot a scintillating 59 in the opening round of the Web.com Tour Championship. His tie for second earned him enough money to get his Tour card back.
In Case Anyone Should Ask: The Presidents Cup, and the Ryder Cup for that matter, do not pay prize money to the contestants and since the beginning in 1994 the Presidents Cup has raised more than $38.4 million for charity including $6 million in 2015. The Presidents Cup has impacted more than 450 charities in 15 countries and 35 states in the U.S. The amount of the 2017 charitable donation will be announced in a few weeks.
Paul Fireman, at one time owner of sneaker-maker Reebok, spent $250 million 11 years ago to build the Liberty National course and everything is first class right down to the individually laid Belgian pavers making the cart paths.
Costco v. Acushnet: Mike Stachura in a copyrighted Golfworld article reports the lawsuits over whether Costco’s Kirkland Signature ball infringed on Acushnet’s patents may not be settled until sometime in 2019, if ever.
Miura Driving Iron: Miura has added the ICL-601 driving iron to their MG Collection. It offers the choice of a 23-degree loft 4-iron, an 18-degree loft 2-iron and a 20 degree 3-iron at a retail price of $369 each.
25 Years & Counting: Usually product endorsement contracts signed by Tour professionals don’t cause much comment but 47-year old Phil Mickelson, who is completing his first quarter century as a professional, signed an extension of his long time agreement with Callaway Golf. Since 2004 when Lefty went with Callaway he has won four of his five majors and 21 of his 42 PGA Tour victories. His Presidents Cup bag included GBB Epic Sub Zero 9-degree driver, GBB Epic 15-degree fairway wood, Epic 4-iron, X-Forged 8-iron through pitching wedge and three PM Grind wedges 50-, 60- and 64-degrees loft. His putter is an Odyssey Versa #9 and he tees up Callaway’s Chrome Soft ball.
TMaG Reds: TaylorMade Golf has added six mallets models of TP Red to the TP Putter Collection. Each has their Pure Roll face and are the same red color that took the Tour by storm for the past two years being used by Jason Day, Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia. They come with a Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grip at an MSRP of $219 USD.
Uihlein Hangs it Up: Acushnet president and CEO Wally Uihlein announced his retirement effective the first of next year after 22 years in the top spot, overseeing two changes in ownership and the company going public. Under his guidance the company’s FootJoy brand also became the leader in shoes and gloves while the Titleist Pro V1 extended their dominance of the golf ball market. Uihlein, age 68, has been with the company 41 years and hand the reins over to COO David Maher.
myRoundPro: TMaG and Samsung Electronics have penciled a deal making TaylorMade’s statistical analysis platform exclusive for Samsung’s Gear S3 watch and the new Gear Fit2 Pro fitness band. Supported wearable devices include the Gear S3, Gear Fit2 Pro, Gear Fit2 and Gear S2. The myRoundPro app is free in all stores.
Precise S7s: Precise Golf introduced a Men’s S7 Limited Edition Set of Clubs for mid to high handicappers looking for a well-made set at a value price of $500. Included in the carry bag that has a stand are a 10.5-degree loft driver, two fairway woods, one hybrid, seven irons and a blade-style putter.
PXG v. TaylorMade Golf: The request for a temporary restraining order made by PXG to stop sales of TMaG’s P790 irons due to possible infringement of eight PXG-held patents was refused by the U.S. District Court. Observers, including this one, were surprised at PXG’s suit since hollow-body irons filled with a plastic polymer have been around for a decade and though not familiar with patent law the litigation seemed like a stretch. The company also filed suit against four large golf retailers for selling the P790s. PXG has now dropped the request for a retaining order or a preliminary injunction so it looks like the courts will eventually have to rule on whether the PXG patents are valid or maybe just throw the case out…we’ll see.