The Top Equipment Stories of 2015

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The Top Equipment Stories of 2015

December 27, 2015

Photo By: @parsonsextreme

Photo By: Harry How/Getty Images

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Photo By: Chris Carlson/AP Photo

Photo By: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Photo By: Harry How/Getty Images

Photo By: Justin Heiman/Getty Images

Photo By: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

Parsons Xtreme Golf shakes things up

No start-up equipment company since Adams and Orlimar in the late 1990s has generated the buzz Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) created in 2015. Of course, company founder Bob Parsons isn’t your typical golf CEO. The GoDaddy founder has a net worth of more than $2 billion. The first PXG clubs debuted in Ryan Moore’s bag at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions—irons with 16 movable weights. Woods, wedges and putters soon followed. Anna Rawson (shown) became a company spokesperson, but Parsons’ ability to sign a larger tour staff gained people’s attention by year’s end. Along with Moore, Parsons inked Rocco Mediate and is rumored to soon have Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel in the fold. Expect the company to make more noise in the coming year.

Photo By: @parsonsextreme

Brandt Snedeker wins with inexpensive clubs

As Brandt Snedeker earned more than $1.2 million for winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, the clubs he used had far less value. Snedeker’s driver was a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast—a club introduced in 2010 that had a trade-in value at the time of his win of $20.34. His putter was his trusty Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie, a club the champ has primarily used for almost a decade that has a trade-in value of little more than $14. Talk about a return on investment.

Photo By: Harry How/Getty Images

J.B. Holmes succeeds with dual-driver strategy

J.B. Holmes is one of the longest hitters in the game, but one driver was not enough for him when he won at the Shell Houston Open in April. Holmes used a TaylorMade R15 430 driver with 9.5 degrees of loft as well as the company’s AeroBurner Mini driver—a 12-degree club with a 43.5-inch shaft. The Mini driver also boasts a wide slot in the sole designed to flex at impact for more ball speed … as if Holmes needed more distance.

Photo By: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Wedge works for Robert Streb

Robert Streb’s chances of winning July’s Greenbrier Classic looked to be thrown away (literally) mid-way through the final round. That’s when the shaft on his Scotty Cameron by Titleist GoLo Knucklehead putter broke near the ninth green after Streb tossed the club to his caddie, who couldn’t catch it. Rule 4-3a kept Streb from replacing the putter because the damage didn’t happen in the normal course of play. So Streb turned to his 56-degree Titleist Vokey SM5 wedge (with 10 degrees bounce). Striking putts with the wedge’s leading edge, Streb made five birdies, including a 26-footer on No. 13 and a six-footer on the final hole to get into a four-way playoff. Streb never got to putt in overtime, however, as he was eliminated before his turn to putt occurred.

Photo By: Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Steve Stricker benches putter after 15 years

Saying he had been putting “atrociously,” Steve Stricker replaced the Odyssey White Hot blade putter he had used for some 15 years in favor of a Scotty Cameron by Titleist GoLo 5 mallet at the PGA Championship in August. The GoLo 5 is face balanced, favoring those with more of a straight back and straight through stroke. Stricker’s Odyssey blade had toe hang, so the move marked a significant change. For Stricker, though, the biggest hurdle may have been a psychological one. “I made a lot of putts with that [old] putter,” said Stricker, who finished T-30 in what was his final PGA Tour start of 2015. “But the technology has gotten better, and I wanted to try something different.”

Photo By: Chris Carlson/AP Photo

Jordan Spieth's one-week iron switch

In the midst of one of the best seasons of any player in recent years, Jordan Spieth surprised many when he started the FedEx Cup Playoffs with a new set of irons, changing to Titleist’s AP2 716 model at the Barclays. The clubs were introduced to the company’s tour staff a few weeks earlier, but had yet to be released to the public. When Spieth missed the cut at the Barclays, he went back to his old AP2s for the remainder of the season. “I had some time at home to change between the PGA and the Barclays,” Spieth explained, “and didn't see many issues or any differences, so I figured it would be no problem. [But] then I felt they were sliding through the turf a little different and the look was a bit of an adjustment. They looked slightly different.” He also missed the cut at Deutsche Bank, but went on the win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title.

Photo By: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Adam Scott uses short putter at Presidents Cup

At October’s Presidents Cup, Adam Scott made news by ditching his long putter for a conventional-length prototype of the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X putter that Cameron dubbed the Rev. X10. According to Titleist, Scott was looking for something specific. As Cameron developed the company’s new X7 models, he continued to work on something for Scott and created the Rev. X10, which utilizes some of the X7’s core technology. The Rev. X10 features a lightweight aluminum face and sole surrounded by a stainless-steel frame with significant perimeter weighting. Scott finally found his stroke Sunday in South Korea during a 6-and-5 dusting of Rickie Fowler. Scott also was runner-up at CIMB Classic in his first PGA Tour event with the new putter, ranking fifth in putts per GIR at 1.610 after hitting 59 of 72 greens in regulation for the week.

Photo By: Harry How/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell reunites with an old friend

Earlier in 2015, Graeme McDowell sat down his Odyssey White Hot 7 putter in favor a Cleveland Golf GMac model with a similar look but different insert. While winning the OHL Mayakoba Classic in November, McDowell was back with the putter he used to take the 2010 U.S. Open. The Odyssey putter, introduced in 2001, has a White Hot insert made from Callaway’s golf-ball cover material that's lighter than the steel it replaces to increase perimeter weighting. “This has been a bumpy year and sometimes you just have to go back to something that you know works,” McDowell told Golf Digest after the win. “I went through a process of trying to simplify and de-clutter and getting the old faithful back in the bag was part of that.”

Photo By: Justin Heiman/Getty Images

Lefty's one-ball goof at the Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson’s mistake regarding the one-ball rule at the Presidents Cup wasn't just bizarre, it was an example of how the Rules of Golf can be so nuanced even the world’s best players—and, in this case one of the game’s most respected rules officials—can botch them. Mickelson carried two models of his Callaway ball (including a firmer version he felt he could get more distance with) because he mistakenly believed the one-ball rule was not in effect for the event. At the Presidents Cup, however, the one-ball rule does apply in four-ball and singles. Interestingly, though, when Mickelson incorrectly played two different balls while playing with Zach Johnson in a four-ball match, the penalty caused the pair to lose two holes. Violating the one-ball rule in match play turned out to be an adjustment to the state of the match of one hole (basically a one-hole penalty). Since Johnson and Mickelson also lost the seventh hole outright, they went from all square to 2 down in one hole.

Photo By: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

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