The outcome of the Travelers Champions at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. is easy to describe. Paul Casey had a four-shot lead over Russell Henley going in to the fourth round but unfortunately the well-like Englishman could only manage a two over par final round. This left the door open for a hard charging Bubba Watson, who started the day six strokes behind, to post a win with a seven under par round giving him his third victory of the season and number 12 of his career.
Watson’s other two wins this year were the Genesis Open and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He had also claimed the Travelers trophy two times previously in 2010 and 2015. The 39-year old is the personification of a “feel” player and never has had a lesson since he began playing in his hometown of Bagdad, Fla.
The equipment used for his three wins had remained the same, all PING, with exception of switching out his PING Anser 303SS putter for prototype model PLD Anser. Of interest is this is the third win since switching back to the Titleist Pro V1x in January after one year playing the Volvk S4 ball. Both of Watson Masters victories came while playing Titleist.
Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 set to 7.6 degrees), Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Rocket Pink X shaft
Fairway wood: Ping G (14.5 set to 13.2 degrees) Fujikura Motore Speeder Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft
Irons: Ping iBlade (2), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft; PING S55 (4-PW), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 52/SS (51.6 degrees), 56/SS (55.3 degrees), 60/TS (62.8 degrees), True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Ping PLD Anser Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
In Case Anyone Should Ask
Equipment Counts at Travelers: Ball count in the 156-man field at the Travelers was Titleist (Pro V1 or Pro V1x) 117 and Callaway (Chrome Soft of Chrome Soft X) 16. They also won the count in hybrids with 22 and in sets of irons with 43. In the approach, sand and lob wedges category Vokey Design was first with 215 while Scotty Cameron putters were the leading brand having 61 in play.
Titleist also reports that of the 34 of their drivers starting the week at TPC River Highlands 28 were the new TS model—11 TS2 and 8 TS3. We expect the new TS which replaces the two-year-old 917 models to be released to retail in September.
Murphy Back as Bridgestone President:After a three-year absence Dan Murphy has been rehired by Bridgestone Golf as president and CEO. Murphy was with the company from 2004 to 2015 playing an instrumental role in growing their U.S. golf ball sales by 250% to the number two position behind Acushnet emphasizing ball fitting for the average player. Most recently Murphy was president of Kentwool and followed by a stint as vice president of American Achievement Corporation. He replaces Angel Ilagan who resigned in May with Bridgestone having slipped to number four in ball sales.
Wilson Raw Irons:This past week Wilson Golf introduced the FG Tour V6 Raw irons and staffer Troy Merritt played them at the Travelers. Priced at $1,100 for an 8-iron set they do not have a finish, i.e., they are un-plated and over time will have an aged, rusted look. Twenty grams of tungsten in the long irons is split between the heel and toe and in the mid irons it is centered. The new forged irons will be available in limited numbers.
Srixon Z 785: Srixon is replacing the Z 765 driver with the Z 785, a model for use by better players. It has a carbon fiber in the crown and a weight port located in the trailing edge of the sole with a bias towards the heel.