February is an exciting time not only on the PGA Tour with the West coast tournament swing but also within the golf industry. This month is one of the key months that new technology hits the market for the first time and where you really begin to see what the World’s best are gaming in their bags. And this year is no exception.
The TaylorMade M1 driver launched late last Fall and instantly emerged as the #1 driver and fairway model on Tour (also the #1 driver in market share). As we get closer to the launch date of the completion of the M family (2.19) with the M2 woods and irons, more and more players have been getting in their requests to test the product, and ultimately, have them built them for their bags.
Just a few weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, over 17 boxes of TayloMade M2 drivers and fairways (250 clubs in total) were requested for professional builds after early reports and results from the previous PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines yielded tremendously positive reaction. At The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, over 44 total M family clubs were put into play (25 M1 and 19 M2). Among those that had put in a request to demo the M2 were Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, John Senden, Camillo Villegas, and Daniel Berger.
Notable changes from the Waste Management included: Ryan Palmer gaming a new M2 3 wood, K.J. Choi switching from an M1 to M2 driver despite his 2nd place finish at Torrey Pines, Alex Cejka moving from an SLDR to M2 driver, and Fabian Gomez, the winner of the Sony Open just last month, moving from an Aeroburner to the M2.
It’s not easy to get a lot of these PGA Tour players to switch from clubs they feel comfortable with to something new that may disrupt the rhythm they’ve been in with their current weapons. For Palmer, who still plays the RBZ Stage 2 3 wood and even an R9 5wood (there’s an oldie but goodie), it took only one week of testing from Torrey Pines to Phoenix to make the commitment to the M2 fairway. Palmer parlayed this change into a solid T-24th position for the week.
In the case of Cejka, who had been with SLDR for three seasons strong, the M2 driver went straight in the bag for the first round, calling it the first driver that will consistently help him produce his desired ball flight, a slight draw. Being able to hit your target and see the lines you are looking for in terms of your trajectory on a consistent basis is crucial to a pros game. While Cejka, unfortunately, had to withdraw after easily making the cut, it was K.J. Choi who backed up his second place finish at Torrey Pines with an impressive T-17th helping him move up in the FedEx Cup standings from 22nd to 20th.
As the tour moves through the California swing and into Florida at the end of the month, there’s no doubt that we will continue to hear about and see the positive changes players are making to their bags for the upcoming season. It’s a long road ahead and they’ll take every advantage they can get to position themselves towards the Majors and staying inside the Top 125 for season’s end.
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