Although the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open marked the debut of Titleist’s new Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls, perhaps bigger news was Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Davis Love III each made driver changes. Matt Kuchar also made a switch as well, to a different model Bridgestone ball. Las Vegas might be known as a city where individuals calculate risk, but these players clearly were taking no chances with their equipment.
Jordan Spieth had Titleist’s new TS2 driver and fairway wood in play at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Though Spieth noted afterward that he found the clubs to be too low spinning and would likely return to his old metalwoods for the time being, how Spieth approaches the process of changing clubs is noteworthy.
Two weeks ago, Titleist tour rep J.J. VanWezenbeeck visited Trinity Forest, Spieth's home course in Dallas, to work with the three-time major champion. According to VanWezenbeeck, Spieth prefers to work on any equipment transition away from tournament sites. Spieth’s Titleist TS2 driver was 45 inches with a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6 X shaft and adjustable hosel in the neutral position. His new fairway wood was in the D-4 hosel setting, which increases loft slightly.
Rickie Fowler also had a new driver in Las Vegas, putting Cobra’s King F9 in play. The club, which features a 43.5-inch (Fowler went to a shorter driver shaft more than a year and a half ago) Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 shaft, has Fowler’s fingerprints on it, as he was involved in helping choose the two color options as well as the alignment aid on the crown.
Mizuno had its ST 190 driver appear on the USGA’s list of conforming clubheads last month, and at the Shriners, Davis Love III put the club in play. Love’s driver, which had 9.5 degrees of loft, also features a weight chip in the sole as well as the company’s “Wave Technology” channel in the front of the sole that is designed to enhance ball speed.
Although he ranked 162nd out of 193 players on the PGA Tour in spin rate last year, Matt Kuchar changed golf balls at the Shriners from Bridgestone’s Tour B XS (a ball he had played since its debut more than a year ago) to the company’s Tour B X, a lower-spinning version of the ball.