Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky is on top of the college sports world. The 7-foot senior just took his team to a national championship game, beating previously unbeaten Kentucky, and gained national stardom for his performance.
With that stardom comes perks. The projected NBA first-round draft pick got to go to Callaway's Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif., to try out some clubs.
This photo is a reminder of the importance of club-fitting. Ever wonder what a 7-footer would look like swinging a regulation golf club? This photo is phenomenal.
Kaminsky went through with a full fitting at Callaway -- here are some photos from the facility last week.
When you tie the tournament record of 18-under-par 270 it is almost impossible to zero in on a single piece of equipment as the one that factored most. Certainly Spieth’s Titleist Pro V1x golf balls seemed to listen to his nearly every command. Then there was the Scotty Cameron by Titleist SC-009 prototype putter—a model Spieth has used since he was 15 years old because Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy used the same model—that holed all those birdie attempts.
But the one piece of equipment that might have been the true difference maker was Spieth’s Titleist Vokey SM5 wedges. After all, if not for the crazy-good pitch shot on the 18th hole Saturday that salvaged an unlikely par, Spieth may have gone to bed Saturday in a different frame of mind. Or how about the pitch shot on No. 11 Sunday when a bogey might have sent the 21-year-old to the treacherous 12th with a shrunken lead.
Then again, maybe the equipment star of the Masters was just the entire bag, filled with 14 Titleist clubs.
Jordan SpiethBall: Titleist Pro V1x Driver: Titleist 915D2 (Aldila Rogue Black 70TX), 9.5 degrees 3-wood: Titleist 915F, 15 degrees Hybrid: Titleist 915Hd, 20.5 degrees Irons (4-9): Titleist AP2 714; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM5 Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (52, 56, 60 degrees) Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist SC-009 prototype
There are so many storylines at the Masters that equipment sometimes get overshadowed -- unless it’s Phil Mickelson using two drivers or Adam Scott winning with a long putter.
Still, so far this week at Augusta National there are a number of interesting items n player’s bags. Here’s some of the more notable:
Drivers for ceremonial swats
The Big Three got things started Thursday morning with their ceremonial tee shots, but while Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player might have a few years on them, their drivers were decidedly high tech. Palmer used a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 for his tee shot while Gary Player had a Callaway XR model. As for the Golden Bear, what did you expect? Jack used a Nicklaus-branded driver with a Fujikura Motore Speeder shaft.
Sandy Lyle’s hickory shaft putter
Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champion, turned back the clock Thursday at the Masters. No, the 57-year-old didn’t pull a Tom Watson and go under par as a senior. Instead, Lyle went old school, putting with hickory-shafted Tad Moore blade-style putter during an opening-round 74. The putter is a huge departure for Lyle, who has been using the mammoth-headed Black Swan putter (similar to the one Matt Every used at the Sony Open a few years ago). Lyle, who claims he has putted well with it in practice rounds, opted for the center-shafted club after his wife suggested he use it at Augusta National. On the round Lyle did not exactly putt lights out, taking 32 putts in all and 22 on the 12 holes he found the green in regulation. On the plus side, he did not three-putt a single green.
New wedges for TW
Tiger Woods’ short game has been the subject of much discussion, and as Woods worked his way back into game shape, he also got some new wedges as well. To accommodate his current short-game technique, Woods is using Nike VR Forged wide sole wedges with a custom sole grind. The lofts are 56 and 60 degrees.
Speith’s putter is an old friend
Jordan Spieth had the hot hand with the putter on Thursday, making nine birdies en route to an opening 64. The putter Spieth uses is a Scotty Cameron by Titleist 009 model that he has had since he was 15 years old. Spieth was drawn to the flat stick because two of his favorite golfers when he was growing up -- Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy -- used the same model.Related: Will Augusta National trademark "a tradition unlike any other"?"
Zach goes back to SeeMore putter
At the recent Valero Texas Open, Zach Johnson benched his SeeMore FGP putter -- a club he had used since his Nationwide Tour days in 2003, including his Masters win in 2003 -- in favor of a Scotty Cameron by Titleist X5R mallet. That experiment had a short life as Johnson was back with the SeeMore Thursday at Augusta National. Johnson used the familiar flatstick well during his opening-round 72, averaging 1.728 putts per hole, which was tied for 12th best on Thursday.
The Masters hasn’t even started yet but already Bubba Watson is ahead of the game -- about $30,000 ahead.
No, the two-time Masters champion didn’t cash in big on a practice-round wager, but rather was presented this morning with a solid gold replica of the Ping Anser Milled 1 putter that he used in winning last year’s Masters. Ping president and CEO John A. Solheim made the presentation in a brief ceremony on the lawn in front of the Augusta National pro shop.
“It’s a little heavier than mine,” said Watson as he carefully inspected the putterhead, which had his name and “The Masters Champion 2014” engraved on the face. Bubba, who is known to have the ability to tell when a club is a gram or two off weight, was more than correct in his assessment. The headweight of his normal putter is a little more than 12 ounces. The solid gold one weighed 24.7 ounces. At the current price of gold, that equates to a value of approximately $30,000.
In all, Ping has presented players with 28 solid gold putters and one solid gold wedge (to Watson, for the memorable shot from the trees he hit in the playoff on No. 10 to win in 2012), since Solheim began the program in 1997. The heaviest putter presented was to Suzanne Pettersen, who won the 2007 LPGA Championship with a Ping Doc 15. The solid gold replica checked in at a hefty 36 ounces.
As Watson headed off to practice, he turned and quipped to Solheim, “Maybe we can do this again next year.”
A nice thought, if perhaps a little greedy.
Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Driver: TaylorMade R15 430, 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade AeroBurner, 12 degrees
5-wood: TaylorMade SLDR, 21 degrees
Irons: (3): Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro H; (4-9): TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 14; (PW): Cleveland 588 RTX
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Metal-X Milled 7
Scott finished fourth in the WGC-Cadillac Championship to start 2015, but he missed the cut at the Valspar -- ending his tour-best streak of 45 consecutive cuts made -- and then finished T-35 at Bay Hill. Scott hinted to PGATour.com following that finish that "Putting with a longer putter is maybe the smarter thing to do [at Augusta]. . . . It's all about the lag putting. It's such a difference in weight of club and stroke and everything. I'm just trying to figure it all out."
Scott currently leads the tour in greens in regulation, but is only 184th in strokes gained/putting. He's even worse from inside 10 feet at 195th, and he's missed 11 times from inside five feet in 10 rounds.
Scott was an excellent putter at one time before he switched to an anchored stroke in 2011. In 2004, the first year that strokes gained/putting was kept by the PGA Tour, Scott finished first. Since he switched to anchoring, his best finish in that category was last year at 55th, and he finished outside of the top 100 the other three years.
There's the argument that Scott might as well use the style that helped him claim his lone major at Augusta National in 2013 and reach No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking last year for as long as possible. Still, it's an interesting move for a man who will be forced to change putting styles when the anchoring ban goes into effect at the end of the year. And is 10 tournament rounds enough of a sample to ditch the short putter for now?
Clearly, Scott has decided that being comfortable for four rounds at Augusta National trumps everything.