By Michael Johnson
By Icon Sportswire
The PGA Tour Champions is always ripe for interesting equipment stories—with some of the senior players using old equipment or trying different clubs to boost their game, both relatable moves to the average golfer. At the Insperity Invitational, John Daly provided an equipment first for Tour Edge, while at the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour, Viktor Hovland was gaming Titleist’s latest version of the Pro V1.
Daly on (Tour) Edge at Insperity
Tour Edge has made a big play on the PGA Tour Champions the last couple of years, and it almost walked away with potentially the company’s biggest win ever. Although John Daly came up a little bit short (literally, as his ball found the water at the last), he had one of his best performances in recent years, finishing T-2 at the Insperity Invitational with a bunch of new Tour Edge equipment in the bag for the first time.
The two-time major champion had the company’s C721 driver (9.5 degrees of loft with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60X shaft) as well as a EXS Pro 13.5-degree fairway wood with the same shaft. The big story, however, was his irons.
Daly played Tour Edge’s C721 irons—a players-distance club—to become the first golfer to use the model in competition on tour. Daly had the 5- through 9-irons equipped with True Temper’s X100 shafts.
Hovland makes the move to new Pro V1
Although Viktor Hovland isn’t one to tinker much with his golf ball, having played Titleist’s Pro V1 for many years, he made the leap to the new version of the ball in his last two events, including at the Valspar.
Hovland decided to make the switch after using the ball on the range and during short-game practice at recent events, noticing faster ball speeds with the driver and more spin control into and around the green.
“I feel like I’m still able to launch the ball up in the air a little bit while getting that spin,” Hovland told Titleist. “And so, then I was entering the testing process with the mindset of, ‘OK, I like it around the greens. Let’s see how it performs with irons and the driver.’ And for me, it didn’t do that much differently [than the prior generation ball], which is a good thing because I liked where the spins were at, the launch angles, and the overall feel of it. So, if it’s very, very similar with all those shots, but I feel like it performs better around the greens, I felt like it was a good decision just to start playing it.
“I think around the greens, I was able to get more spin, which is huge when you’re playing greens that are firm and fast. I don’t care how high you are launching [it], you need spin to get the ball to stop. So, that was a big thing.” Hovland finished T-3 in his first outing with the ball in an individual competition.