124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Hybrids are happening at the Bob Hope

January 21, 2011

At the Bob Hope Classic the field of 128 players had a combined 166 fairway woods in their bag. The field also had 115 hybrids in play. Why is this significant? Consider that in the same tournament just five years ago the ratio was 228 to 51 in favor of fairways.

What does this mean? Well, a few things. First, the design of hybrids has evolved with more companies producing hybrids with larger heads and longer shafts that can easily substitute for fairway woods. But the more likely explanation is simply that more pros are coming around to the idea that hybrids are a valuable weapon to have in their arsenal. Players such as Derek lamely.

During the opening round of the Hope, Lamely eagled the par-5 sixth hole at the Palmer Private course en route to a 63. Lamely hit driver and a 2-hybrid to 20 feet and made the putt. Not exactly unusual for a tour pro--except in this instance.

"The funny part is, today's the first round I ever played with a hybrid," said Lamely. "I got Callaway's new hybrid in the bag and it goes just as far as my normal 2-iron, but it's a lot easier to hit it. It's funny, I've never been able to hit one [before]."

Lamely's hybrid was an 18-degree Callaway Razr X Tour (a Gold medal winner on the 2011 Golf Digest Hot List). But Lamely wasn't the only player adding a new hybrid at the Hope. Twenty players, including David Duval (Nike VR, 18 degrees); Harrison Frazar (Titleist 910H, 20 degrees) and Vaughn Taylor (TaylorMade Rescue--the white version), added hybrids this week.

Of course, with so many of the game's best players seeing the benefits of these easy-to-hit clubs, if you don't have one in your bag, perhaps you ought to think about that. -- E. Michael Johnson

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