January 14, 2009
January 15 marks the 50th Anniversary of PING shipping the first 1A putter. Karsten Solheim, at the time a General Electric engineer, invented it in his Redwood City, California garage. The design created a tuning fork effect. Karstens wife, Louise, now 90 years old, tells the story:
He came running in to the kitchen exclaiming he had a name for his putter. Then he put the ball down and hit a putt with it. He said, Im going to call in PING. I said thats nice, honey and we ate our hamburgers and vegetables without any particular celebration.
Im sure the Solheim family and the dedicated employees at PING have celebrated many times since.
Well, the equipment trucks are not in Hawaii for obvious reasons, but, many of the tour reps and tour technicians are. I had a chance to chat with several. Heres what I discovered: Geoff Ogilvy hit Cobras new S9-1 at home in Australia just a few times before bringing it with him to Maui. His practice round on Tuesday was his first actual playing day with it. By the end of the front nine, he told his tour rep it was going in the bag. Nice call on Geoffs part. He is using the Pro-D model head in 9.5 degrees.The D indicates deep face. Its shafted with Aldilas VooDoo XVS8, tipped one inch and built to 44.5. Ernie Els put the new Callaway FT-9 driver in play on Thursday having never seen or hit one before late in the day on Wednesday. It proved quite effective as he finished 2nd in average driving distance, just a yard behind distance king J.B. Holmes. He also put a new Odyssey Sabertooth putter in play that he had spotted in South Africa in Richard Sternes bag. And, the Big Easy has a set of new KB shafts and a new set of 09 X-Forged irons.
Also for Callaway, new players signing on this week: Nicholas Thompson, James Nitties, and James Oh. Kenny Perry tested TaylorMades new Tour Burner in the offseason at The Kingdom in Carlsbad. He put the driver and Tour Burner 5-wood in play at Mercedes. He also received a new set of Burner 09 irons and played a TaylorMade sand wedge and lob wedge. This is big for TaylorMade as Kenny has played competitor wedges in the past. Lastly, the Titleist tour department tells me they were quite pleased that 10 of the 20 Titleist ball users at Mercedes used the new 2009 balls; 5 used the V1 and 5 used the V1x. Davis Love finished 2nd using the new V1x. Email your thoughts to Casey Bierer