HONOLULU – Monday was like the first day of school at the Sony Open, the year’s first full-field event.
Although the Tour’s wraparound season now begins in October, many players still consider the Sony Open the more traditional opening day and a place to break out new equipment and endorsement deals.
Among the notable equipment moves on the range at Waialae this week is Daniel Berger, who has joined the Callaway Golf staff, Harris English (Ping) and Sean O’Hair (Titleist).
“I was switching up clothes and wanted to have freedom over what I wanted to play,” English said. “It’s something I grew up with, I started playing Ping equipment when I was 10 or 11 years old, so you get used to it.”
English signed a new clothing endorsement deal with Nike Golf, which freed him up to go back to Ping. Nike closed its equipment business this season, a move that has created some interesting scenarios for players.
Similar to Rory McIlroy, who has gone with a mixed bag (Callaway woods and irons, Titleist ball and wedges, Odyssey putter) following Nike’s decision to stop manufacturing clubs and golf balls, longtime Nike staff player Paul Casey arrived in Hawaii for this week’s event with an eclectic bag.
The Englishman is playing a TaylorMade driver and Titleist golf ball and putter, but, like McIlroy, he doesn’t have a club agreement with any company.
“It was 100 percent freedom,” said Casey, who continues to play the same model of Nike irons as last season. “It was very liberating, but it did become almost overwhelming at one point, there is so much good equipment out there.”
Other equipment changes include, Derek Fathauer and Russell Henley to Titleist, Patrick Rodgers to Callaway and J.J. Spaun to Cleveland Golf.