Drivers Hot Out of the Oven
Titleist is getting ready to launch two new drivers that they are over the Moon about. For a decade now, Titleist has been designing and manufacturing high performance drivers for some of the world’s best players.
Launching on April 1, 2007, are two new drivers that take full advantage of the 460cc platform in two distinct geometry offerings: the 907D1 and the 907D2.
The 907D1 is a high MOI driver which uses triangular shape geometry. The 907D2 is also a high MOI driver, however, it relies on a more traditional shape geometry; although more aggressive than previous traditional Titleist drivers.
'Titleist golf clubs are designed for the serious golfer, and with the new 907D1 and 907D2 we are taking the #1 460cc driver brand on the PGA Tour to the next level via high and enhanced MOI,' said Steve Pelisek, Vice President, Golf Club Sales, Titleist. 'With the combination of the continuing evolution of high MOI driver technology that is available and in play at the game's highest level and the expert fitting from our Titleist FittingWorks partners, we Can optimize the driving performance of any serious golfer.'
The highest inertia Titleist driver ever, Titleist says the 907D1 offers increased distance with forgiveness, producing a straighter ball flight. The 907D2 provides enhanced MOI for increased distance with workability, allowing the better player the ability to produce a draw or fade. Another primary difference is in the appearance. The 907D1 is a market forward, limit geometry, triangle shape, while the 907D2 is a traditional round profile. The internal construction is similar and both drivers provide a large maximum ball speed area for increased ball speed across the face.
'We strive to provide products that make better players better, and in terms of performance, the new 907 drivers are our most advanced drivers yet,' said Scott Burnett, Vice President, Titleist Golf Club Research and Development. 'Players will benefit from the advanced design, engineering and construction technology we used to create the higher MOI, while delivering on the combination of looks, feel and ball flight that better players demand. In fact, the 5,000+ inertia value of the 907D1 is as high as any titanium driver currently in the marketplace.'
TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s two newest drivers, the r7 SuperQuad and the Burner, were released to the public at the end of February. TOUR players have had access to both drivers for some time now and, according to TaylorMade, the report card is very, very good.
'The demand for the Burner and r7 SuperQuad has been phenomenal,' said Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade vice president of tour operations. 'Most of the guys who want the r7 SuperQuad have said that it's the driver they've been waiting for, because it combines the power and forgiveness of a 460 cc club head with four movable weights. Four weights gives them far greater control over their launch conditions compared to two weights, affecting both spin-rate and launch angle while exercising a greater influence over shot shape.
'Players are also really excited about the Burner, both by its dynamic looks and the boost it gives them in ball speed,' added Sbarbaro. 'They've also been surprised to see a driver by TaylorMade without Movable Weight Technology™, but they get it when we explain that this club is all about increased club head speed, increased ball speed and increased distance.'
Tour pros who have put either the Burner or r7 SuperQuad in play during the past several weeks include Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Justin Rose, Robert Garrigus, Sean O'Hair, Kenny Perry, Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, Nathan Green, Paul McGinley, Tim Petrovic, Robert Damron, Carlos Franco and Pat Perez. Funk won the PGA Tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic yesterday while using a SuperQuad, andPlayer Name: First | Lastused a SuperQuad to win theLeaderboards: Pga | LPGA | Champions Tour/> 'When it comes to drivers, tour pros like options,' said Sean Toulon, TaylorMade executive vice president of brand and product creation. 'They want choices depending if their preference is to calculate and launch the ball, or simply swing hard and bomb it long. Clearly the Burner and r7 SuperQuad have struck a chord among tour pros – the proof is in the demand.'
Shape geometry is taking a firm hold in the world of driver design these days. However, according to Nickent Golf’s Master Designer John Hoeflich, it’s not the only way to achieve a high MOI quotient. Nickent’s goal with their new 4DX driver is to push the limits of performance while maintaining a more traditional shape and sound.
Using a super thin 0.4 mm titanium crown, Nickent says they are able to save enough weight to manufacture a 460cc directional control driver that combines a classic tour shape together with advanced weight technology. Nickent utilizes Tungsten-Polymer XW Inserts, an innovation that allows for 16 grams of weight to be adjusted in 2-gram increments by the manufacturer for directional control and swing weight purposes,
“XW is a very smart directional control technology, and it gives us the flexibility to maneuver a significant amount of weight without taking away from our tour-driven design,” said Hoeflich. “The XW Inserts, which are now in almost all the clubs I have designed for Nickent, also raise the MOI, and provide the perfect heel/toe weighting for a particular swing. When you can use weights this small to bring back the Center of Gravity, raise the MOI and create a very large sweet spot on the face, all while keeping the desired shape you and dampening vibration, you have found a technology that stands above the rest.”
The raw head of this 460 CC driver weighs 180 grams. Nickent says this helps increase the swing speed of the driver significantly and allows for maximum distance. It also gives Nickent engineers room to utilize the XW technology and to raise the MOI significantly. The construction of the driver is a 6/4 Titanium body fused with a 15-3-3 .4mm Titanium crown. 15-3-3 Titanium is the alloy for Titanium and is stronger and thinner than cast 6-4 Titanium. It reduces the thickness of the crown by 50%, reduces the weight of the crown by 20 grams and makes for a better sound and feel. Laser welding the crown adds more strength and saves even more weight to put back in the clubhead. A patented A-frame face application is used for a high COR/CT on the face map.
The new 4DX driver is available in a Draw bias spec and their Tour spec.
Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill
ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.
The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?
“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”
And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.
After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.
“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”
Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration
ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.
He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.
Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.
McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.
“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”
A performance fit for a King
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five hundred and 40 days had passed since Rory McIlroy last won, and since golf lost one of its most iconic players.
So much has transpired in McIlroy’s life since then – marriage, injury, adversity – but even now he vividly recalls the awkward end to the 2016 Tour Championship. He had just captured the FedExCup and $11 million bonus, but afterward, in the scrum, he was asked instead to reflect on the passing earlier that day of Arnold Palmer, at age 87.
“Obviously I had a great win and it was a great day for me, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter,” he said. “The game of golf had lost an icon, a legend, an inspiration to so many of us. I probably wasn’t as ecstatic as maybe I would have been if Arnie hadn’t passed away.”
But there was McIlroy on Sunday at Bay Hill, at Arnie’s Florida home, summoning the kind of charge that would have made the King proud. With five birdies in his last six holes, he broke away from a stacked leaderboard to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first victory on Tour in 18 months, since that bittersweet evening at East Lake.
“Kind of ironic,” he said Sunday.
But the connection between McIlroy and Palmer runs deeper than that.
Palmer and McIlroy’s wife, Erica, shared a birthday – Sept. 10.
Palmer wrote letters to McIlroy after each of his many victories.
Palmer had lobbied for years to get McIlroy to play this event, even threatening him. “If he doesn’t come and play Bay Hill,” Palmer said in 2012, “he might have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he’s going to play next.”
McIlroy kept all of his limbs intact but didn’t add the event until 2015, when Palmer’s health was beginning to deteriorate. That week he sat for a two-hour dinner with Palmer in the Bay Hill clubhouse, and the memories still bring a smile to his face.
“I was mesmerized,” McIlroy said.
And entertained, of course.
Palmer ordered fish for dinner. “And I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A.1. Sauce?’” McIlroy said.
“And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ And he said, ‘No, for me!’"
McIlroy chuckled at the exchange, then added somberly: “I was very fortunate to spend that time with him.”
McIlroy has been telling anyone who will listen that he’s close to playing his best golf, but even he was surprised by the drastic turn of events over the past 10 days.
During that 18-month winless drought, he endured an onslaught of questions about his wedge play, his putting, his health and his motivation. Burnt out by the intense spotlight, and needing to rehab a nagging rib injury, he shut it down for four months last fall, a mental and physical reset.
But after an encouraging start to his 2018 campaign in the Middle East, McIlroy was a non-factor in each of his first four Tour starts. That included a missed cut last week in Tampa, where he was admittedly searching.
“The best missed cut I’ve ever had,” he said.
McIlroy grinded all last weekend, stumbling upon a swing thought, a feeling, like he was making a three-quarter swing. Then he met for a few hours Monday in South Florida with former PGA Tour winner and putting savant Brad Faxon. They focused on being more instinctive and reactionary over the ball.
“He just freed me up,” McIlroy said.
Freed up his stroke, which had gotten too rigid.
And freed up his mind, which was bogged down with technical thoughts and self-doubt.
“The objective is to get the ball in the hole,” he said, “and I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”
All McIlroy did at Bay Hill was produce the best putting week of his career.
Starting the final round two shots back of Henrik Stenson, McIlroy made the turn in 33 and then grabbed a share of the lead on the 11th hole.
Tiger Woods was making a run, moving within a shot of the lead, but McIlroy answered with a charge of his own, rattling off four consecutive birdies – a 16-footer on 13, a 21-footer on 14, a chip-in on 15 and a two-putt birdie after a 373-yard drive on 16 – that left Woods and everyone else in the dust.
Then McIlroy finished it off in style, rolling in a 25-footer on the last that was eerily similar to the putt that Woods has holed so many times at his personal playground.
“I know what the putt does,” McIlroy said, “so it was nice to make my own little bit of history.”
Justin Rose has played plenty of meaningful golf with McIlroy over the years, but he’d never seen him roll it like he did Sunday.
“He turned on the burners on the back nine,” he said. “He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”
It’s little wonder McIlroy pulled ahead of a star-studded leaderboard, closing with a bogey-free 64 and winning by three shots at 18-under 270 – he led the field in driving distance, proximity to the hole, scrambling and strokes gained-putting.
“It’s so nice that everything finally came together,” he said.
Over the next two weeks, there figures to be plenty of conversation about whether McIlroy can channel that fearlessness into the major he covets most. The Masters is the only piece missing from a career Grand Slam, and now, thanks to Faxon’s tips, he’s never been in a better position.
But after a turbulent 18 months, McIlroy needed no reminder to savor a victory that felt like a long time coming.
There was a hug for his parents, Gerry and Rosie.
A kiss for his wife, Erica.
A handshake for Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, and then a fitting into the champion’s alpaca cardigan.
The only thing missing was the King himself, waiting atop the hill behind 18 with his huge smile and vice-grip handshake.
“Hopefully he’s up there smiling,” McIlroy said, “and hopefully he’s proud of me with the way I played that back nine.”
McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish
ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.
McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.
“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”
A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.
Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.
“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”