EquipmentMay 3, 2010

History For Sale

The irons and wedges Tiger Woods used to win the 'Tiger Slam' are up for auction on eBay -- for $250,000

The set of irons and wedges Tiger Woods used to win the 'Tiger Slam' is up for auction.

The set of irons and wedges Tiger Woods used to win the 'Tiger Slam' is up for auction.

It used to be that Internet auction site eBay's slogan was "It's better when you win." Well, recently listed for auction is a set of golf clubs used by a man who knows how to win just about better than anyone -- Tiger Woods. The set of irons and wedges for sale are clubs Woods used during the hallmark achievement of his career, the Tiger Slam, when he won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000, then won his fourth consecutive major at the 2001 Masters. Minimum opening bid: $250,000.

The seller, aphotoshop1, is listed as being from Vista, Calif., and claims that the clubs were "given personally as a gift from Tiger to the seller" and "in orginal [sic] shape and grips are original grips used the last time the clubs were used by Tiger."

The clubs, which come with a certificate of authenticity, include a set of Titleist 681 irons, 2-PW, with a special grind and stamped "T" on the back toe area.

Although Woods signed an endorsement deal with Nike upon turning professional, he used Titleist irons that were modeled after Mizuno's MP 14 and MP 29 irons (Woods had used a mixed set of those irons as an amateur) for years.

Woods' club specs have been a closely guarded secret for a number of years, but the auction listing goes into great detail. The shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100, tipped one-quarter of an inch with lengths graduated downward in one-half inch increments from the 39-inch 2-iron. The lie angle is 1 degree upright and the lofts are 2 degrees weak throughout the set (the 2-iron, for example, has a lie angle of 60 degrees and a loft of 21 degrees). The swingweight is a meaty D4.

The wedges are Titleist Vokey 258-08 (8 degrees loft with 8 degrees of bounce on the sole) and 260-06 (60 degrees loft with 6 degrees of bounce). Interestingly, the 58-degree wedge has 56 degrees stamped on the back but 58 degrees on the sole. Woods had the 58-degree bent to 56 degrees, which not only reduced the loft but also dropped the bounce to 6 degrees, meaning both his sand wedges had 6 degrees of bounce -- less than the amount desired by most tour pros. True Temper's Dynamic Gold S-400 shaft is in both wedges and the name "Tiger" is engraved in white on the back of each wedge.

The grips on all the clubs are Golf Pride's Tour Velvet cord, 58 round, installed over a single wrap of tape.

Despite seeking a cool quarter-million dollars for the clubs, the seller notes at the bottom of the listing that, "Because of box dimensions shipping tends to be more expensive" and that the clubs do not "ship on weekends."

The auction is slated to last for 10 days and began at approximately 6 p.m. May 2.

A look at the PGA Tour's stats through the Quail Hollow Championship revealed this tidbit: The leaders in driving distance, driving accuracy and greens in regulation all use equipment from the same company -- Ping. Bubba Watson (306.0 yards with a Ping G15 driver) leads in distance; Heath Slocum (74.86 percent, also G15 driver) in accuracy and Kevin Sutherland (73.25 percent, S57 irons) in greens in regulation. Interestingly, the one major statistical category Ping, a company known for its putters, doesn't lead, is putting.

A refurbished putter has spruced up Bo Van Pelt's game. After the Shell Houston Open, Van Pelt sent his five-year-old "rusted and dinged" T.P. Mills putter to David Mills. Two days later Van Pelt had the flat stick back, looking better than ever and with a new, slightly shorter shaft. "I was temporarily insane for eight weeks, changing putters all the time," said Van Pelt. "I've got a lot of good feelings with that putter, so it was good to have it back in my hands." Indeed. Van Pelt finished T-3 at the Verizon Heritage and fifth at the Quail Hollow Championship.