The Equipment Stories Of The Year

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The Equipment Stories Of The Year

December 21, 2014

Photo By: David Cannon/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Photo By: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Photo By: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Photo By: Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

Photo By: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Photo By: AP Photo

Photo By: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Photo By: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Photo By: Courtesty of Titleist

JUSTIN ROSE'S SPECIAL DELIVERY

Rose started the British Open at Hoylake with just 13 clubs. That's because Rose's TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver wasn't in the bag. Rose explained that his caddie, Mark Fulcher, had two drivers built for friends and placed them in Rose's bag. When Fulcher gave his friends the clubs, he mistakenly kept one of theirs and handed over his boss' big stick. "I noticed it wasn't my shaft," Rose said of how he discovered the issue. The driver arrived on the third hole after Fulcher's friends were contacted and they drove Rose's driver back to Royal Liverpool.

Photo By: David Cannon/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

PLAYERS AT CHERRY HILLS USING PERSIMMON CLUBS

Amateurs and pros alike are notorious for attempting to replicate Arnold Palmer's tee shot that found the green on the 346-yard first hole at Cherry Hills CC during the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open. Most, however, come armed with modern drivers and golf balls. During practice for the BMW Championship, however, a handful of players took some swats using a persimmon driver (steel shaft, of course) and wound balata balls similar to what Palmer used in 1960. The results weren't exactly stellar. Of the five players who gave it a go -- Keegan Bradley, Camilo Villegas, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy -- none found the green and the closest anyone could come was McIlroy, who was some 50 yards short in a bunker.

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ANCHORS AWAY

With the clock ticking toward the anchor ban in 2016 some long-time anchorers decided it was time to get going on a new stroke. Brendan Steele went conventional-length at the Travelers and so did Webb Simpson at the Dunlop Phoenix Open. Late in the year Keegan Bradley used a counterbalanced Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X5 Dual Balance at the Hero World Challenge. Bradley had tried a shorter putter earlier in the year at Memorial but returned to anchoring because he didn't want to give U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson a reason not to pick him for the team.

Photo By: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

THE TONIGHT SHOW MEETS NIKE GOLF

With all the glitz and glam one would expect from Nike along with the Manhattan skyline at night serving as a stunning backdrop, Nike introduced its Vapor iron line in a big way. Helping debut the line were the company's one-two punch of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, along with a little help from "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon, who served up a few questions as well as a few one-liners. The next day in New York Tiger Woods spoke with select media about the new products. By bringing out the big guns, Nike expressed a confidence about its products not seen in some time.

Photo By: Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

SECRET SPHERES: THE DEBUT OF THE NEW TITLEIST PRO V1/V1X

It is like clockwork that Titleist debuts its new Pro V1 models every other year at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. This time around 10 players, including Charley Hoffman, D.A. Points and Carl Pettersson, put the new balls -- whose primary difference is a softer feel -- in play. Later in the year wins by Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth using the new balls gave some momentum -- as if it were needed -- to the new product.

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HISTORY FOR SALE

Sam Snead used the same driver for 17 years, earning a handful of majors (two Masters, two PGA Championships and a British Open) and more than 100 victories. The club was finally benched after the 1953 Ryder Cup, having endured thousands of tee shots and numerous repairs to keep it in play, including a screw in the neck. Snead obtained the club in 1936 from Henry Picard after seeing it in Picard's bag and giving it a go. Snead paid Picard $5.25 for the club -- the same amount Picard said he had paid. That club (and others) were put for sale by Heritage Auctions. The opening bid was set at $250,000, which no one ponied up. The putter Snead used to win the 1946 British Open did fetch $16,000.

Photo By: AP Photo

TURBULATORS PROVIDE FINISHING KICK

On the eve of his run to the FedEx Cup title, Billy Horschel certainly found a driver that was to his liking. The former Florida Gator switched to Ping's G30 driver at the PGA Championship. Since then, Horschel posted two wins and a second in three playoff events while boosting his season's driving distance average from 288.0 yards (ranked T-103) to 291.4 yards (77th). Oh, he took home north of $13 million dollars with the club, too.

Photo By: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

HADLEY'S CADDIE TUMBLES, BENDS PUTTER

When Chesson Hadley's caddie took a tumble over a television cable during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship, it was fodder for the Twitter and YouTube crowd and a good chuckle for those looking on. For Hadley, however, it was no laughing matter. Hadley's putter -- an Odyssey White Hot XG 2-Ball -- was bent during the mishap. Although it's a tough thing for any player to endure a damaged putter, it was an especially cruel blow to Hadley, who said he had used the putter for six or seven years, including in his breakthrough win at the Puerto Rico Open.

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DUBUISSON'S CACTUS WEDGE

When Victor Dubuisson's clubs got held up in customs upon arriving in Miami for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, it forced the Frenchman to head over to Titleist's tour van to get a replacement set built just in case his gamers took a while to arrive. When Dubuisson asked Aaron Dill, a Titleist tour rep, for some wedges, Dill had a ready answer. "Yeah, but you're getting a cactus on it." The club Dubuisson used for those shots was a 58-degree Titleist Vokey TVD K-grind with 6 degrees bounce. Normally stamping a club with a name or initials is a relatively quick task, but for the cactus Dill needed to hand stamp each one of the little dots (more than 400 of them) that made up the shape of the prickly plant. Add in the time it took to do the green paintfill and it added up to over an hour that Dill spent on the club.

Photo By: Courtesty of Titleist

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