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Replacement clubs

Players 2024: Adam Hadwin tossed his 8-iron in the water at TPC Sawgrass. Here's how he got a replacement

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Sean M. Haffey

Adam Hadwin’s Callaway Apex TCB 8-iron had barely made its splash upon hitting the water at TPC Sawgrass’ finishing hole Thursday during the Players Championship—a toss that his wife, Jessica, deemed a 10 out of 10—before Callaway’s tour team went into action to build a replacement.

“Our team started on it and then reached out to Adam to confirm the build and delivery,” said a Callaway spokesperson, who said that the club was scheduled to get to Hadwin early Friday morning. “He has an afternoon tee time, so he’ll have it in hand way before he tees off. It doesn’t happen often but since we have his specs it’s easy to replicate for the build.” That build includes a True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue AMT Tour White X100 shaft.

Although replacing clubs tossed in the water is a rarity, replacing broken clubs is somewhat commonplace on tour. It gets more complicated, however, when it occurs during a competition round. Unknown to many golf fans is that the tour vans and technicians that service the players each week pull up stakes on Wednesday afternoon (in accordance with PGA Tour rules) and move on to the next venue. That can leave players with damaged clubs in a bit of a pickle.

Of course, it is the job of the equipment companies to solve for those problem no matter what. Take the case of Rory McIlroy at the 2011 PGA Championship. McIlroy not only hurt his right arm and wrist when he struck a root on the third hole in the opening round at Atlanta Athletic Club, he also damaged his Titleist MB 7-iron. A call was made to Titleist and the company quickly had a replacement made at its Oceanside, Calif., facility. An employee then took a redeye and flew with the new stick overnight to Atlanta. The club was placed in McIlroy’s locker at 7:25 a.m. Friday just before he went out to warm up for his second round.

In an effort to avoid such extreme measures, many players will, at minimum, bring a backup driver with them. It was a strategy that served Chris DiMarco well at the 2005 Masters, when on the eighth hole of the final round the epoxy that holds the clubhead and shaft together came loose, with the head twisting on him. Under the rules, DiMarco could replace the club and luckily, he had backups for his 10-degree Ping G2 Tour with him.

“I had just put the driver I was using in this week, and I had four or five others in my locker,” said DiMarco, who noted he normally traveled with just one driver. “Eight is a par 5 so there was time, and I got the replacement driver on the ninth tee, so I didn’t miss a drive.”

And thanks to Callaway’s quick thinking, Hadwin shouldn’t miss a shot with his 8-iron.