New Year, New Sticks
We typically hear of sponsor changes among Tour players during this slower time of the year, which used to be the PGA Tour “off-season”. Now with the new wrap-around schedule, player signings haven’t been a big topic of discussion because players are jumping right back into Tournament play with little or no break. As always, there are a few big names changing club manufacturers for 2014. Let’s take a look at which companies these Tour Pros trust to take them to the top!
Callaway – One of the most anticipated releases of 2014, Callaway’s Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers, are gaining force on the Tour with 15 new players signing by January 5th. There are more anticipated signings, not only because of the driver, but because of their other much improved clubs as well. The Apex iron line has many people wondering if Callaway is going to be the new #1 iron in golf? With notable and up-and-coming players signing, who will be next to sign with this club manufacturer?
- Henrik Stenson – For the most part, he used Callaway throughout the bag for most of 2013, so it seemed like a natural deal to sign.
- Matteo Manassero – Signings such as this are why Callaway is turning a lot of heads. With limited rounds on the PGA Tour last year (16), he was last (181st) in Driving Accuracy and GIR, which translates to below 58% in both categories. He has already shown improvement on both sides of the pond this year, with around 68% of GIR hit combined between Tours.
- Jonathan Byrd – Everyone remembers his amazing hole-in-one at the end of the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open. We’ll be Byrd watching!
- Harris English – A long hitter off the tee, he is looking to capitalize with his short irons. He is averaging 1.3 more birdies per round this year over last.
- Pat Perez – Using the Big Bertha driver, he will be in more fairways, which will allow him to go pin-seeking with his Apex Pro irons and X2 Hot hybrids.
- John Rollins – He is claiming the new Speed Regime 3 golf ball has him excitied for the 2014 season. This golf ball will give him the ability to control green-side spin and the distance off the tee.
- Matt Every – He is on pace to make his name known in 2014. He is making almost 5 birdies per round and averaging sub 70 rounds in his first 20 rounds this year.
TaylorMade – Some well-known names are joining their ranks, and for good reason. The SLDR driver has already won nine times in 2013, which has a lot of players interested in the company who totes the #1 driver in golf. Also, with three new models of their previously successful Tour Preferred (TP) irons, TaylorMade will surely demand the attention and praise they deserve. So who’s sliding over to TaylorMade?
- Carl Pettersson – Within weeks of transitioning to the SLDR, he went from 70th to 3rd in driving distance.
- Trevor Immelman – This will be his 3rd company change in 3 years (Nike in 2012 and Callaway in 2013). There hasn’t been any news on what exactly he will be playing, but it will be TaylorMade-Adidas throughout the bag and wardrobe for 2014.
- Robert Allenby – He is looking for similar results as Pettersson. 116th for 2013 in driving distance and 141st in driving accuracy.
- James Hahn – In less than 4 months, he has gone from 130th in driving accuracy to 65th. Cutting this stat in half can only mean more birdie opportunities.
- Scott Langley – Let’s see if the change makes an impact on his leader board appearances.
Cobra/Puma – Fashion has always been an integral part of a tour pro’s game plan and you don’t need to think twice when you see neon colors and flatbills because Puma is the “statement-generation” in regards to golf apparel. Sleek looks and well-coordinated outfits will make the saying ring true; “If you can’t play good, you better look good!”
- Graham DeLaet and Will MacKenzie
Adams – They’ve had a strong hold on the hybrid market on each major tour for years and this will remain the same for the 2014 season. Don’t forget about the Tight Lies fairway woods. These fairway woods have improved technology that simply cannot be ignored.
- Ernie Els – “The Big Easy” is easing into his new equipment quite nicely, using the Tight Lies fairways and XTD irons. He claims the new equipment has him excited and more focused on winning Majors over the next few years.
- Josh Teater – XTD Hybrids and CMB irons will help him to stop the golf ball on the green when the greens are firm and fast.
Cleveland/Srixon – The 588 line of golf clubs now stretches from driver through wedge giving players a wide variety of quality equipment to choose from. Not only can you customize wedges to fit your game, but they can match your personality and outfit all at the same time! With the “My RTX” wedges, players can choose from a wide variety of unique options to customize their wedges. You can pick everything from head color, colored lettering and a large gallery of unique etched graphics not seen on any club. You can even get your favorite collegiate team logo and colors on the shaft!
- J.B. Holmes and William McGirt
Wilson – The FG line of golf clubs extends throughout the entire bag, having options for Tour and novice players alike. With the FG Tour V2 iron being the official blade (that we all wish we could hit), the FG Tour M3 and the C-100 are a better choice for us mere mortals. The FG Tour M3 driver has a deeper face for penetrating shots and the FG fairway woods and hybrids have smaller, low profile clubheads for more workability.
- Marcel Siem
Hopkins Golf – Specializes in wedges with custom grinds. The wedges are made of 8620 Carbon steel, which creates a smoother feel for controlled shots.
- Vijay Singh – After a long relationship with the Cleveland Golf, he has a renewed focus with Hopkins Golf.
With more 2014 equipment release dates quickly approaching, I’m sure we’ll see more big names switching allegiances and forging new partnerships. With so many options and so much on the line, it’s always exciting to see which companies’ tour pros put their faith in. While it’s fun to play what the pros play, what works for Tiger may not always work for you! It’s always ideal, and recommended, to visit your local PGA professional for a fitting, to find what equipment will best amplify your game.