With the Masters around the corner, players such as defending champion Patrick Reed were trying to get their equipment dialed in at the Players Championship. For Reed, that meant a return to the ball he won with at Augusta National, in addition to a new set of irons. Brandt Snedeker also made a ball switch, while Hideki Matsuyama tried out yet another driver, and a putter change for Abraham Ancer paid off handsomely.
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Patrick Reed used Srixon’s Z-Star golf ball for the opening round before going back to the same Titleist Pro V1 model that he won the Masters with last year. Reed continued with the Titleist ball at the Players, while also swapping out his irons, trading his split set of Callaway irons for a set of Titleist 718 MBs along with a Titleist 718 CB 4-iron. According to Titleist, Reed appreciated the look and feel while obtaining a higher launch. A close look at the photo reveals Reed not only went old-school looks-wise with a muscle-back blade, but he used a healthy does of good old-fashioned lead tape as well.
Hideki Matsuyama is also on a roll of changing equipment. The 27-year-old is on his third driver in three starts. After using Callaway’s Epic Flash at the WGC-Mexico Championship, the Japanese star tried the lower-spinning Sub Zero model at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. At the Players, Matsuyama had a 9-degree TaylorMade M5 in the bag, taking advantage of the weight track to place one weight in the back middle (presumably to help launch) and one in the back heel, which produces a modest draw bias. Matsuyama went 66-67 on the weekend to finish T-8, “I hit my driver well. I kept it in the fairway, gave myself a lot of good chances.”
For more than a decade Brandt Snedeker used a Bridgestone golf ball, including during all nine of his PGA Tour wins and the 2012 FedEx Cup title. Even after parting ways with the company at the start of this year, he continued to play the ball—until last week at the Players. Snedeker switched to Srixon’s Z-Star XV, a ball with an extremely thin urethane cover designed to promote spin and feel around the greens. In his first week with the new ball, Sneds recorded his highest finish since a T-2 in the season's first event, finishing T-5 at TPC Sawgrass, tying for first in greens in regulation and ranking ninth in strokes gained/around the green.
Abraham Ancer has enjoyed a solid 2018-'19 season with a pair of top-five finishes and a money ranking of 53rd, but he has done so despite being ranked 147th in strokes gained/putting. The poor showing on the greens has caught up with Ancer over his previous five starts, resulting in three missed cuts and nothing better than a T-39 at the WGC-Mexico Championship. That prompted Ancer to switch from the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Squareback Plus he had been using to an Odyssey O-Works Tank 1 with the company’s new Stroke Lab shaft that’s designed to aid stability while putting. “I'm happy with my stroke, I'm happy how I'm rolling it,” Ancer said at TPC Sawgrass, where he finished T-12.