Wall-to-Wall Equipment: John Daly nearly wins with never-before-seen gear setup
Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.
A first on Tour
John Daly came up short on Sunday but still managed to make equipment headlines in Texas with a Tour Edge-heavy equipment setup.
The two-time major winner isn’t officially on staff with Tour Edge, but that didn’t stop him from putting the company’s C721 driver (9.5 degrees), EXS Pro fairway wood (13.5 degrees) and Exotics C721 ions (5-9) in play for the very first time.
Tour Edge has a fervent following on the PGA Tour Champions and recently signed two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer to a multi-year equipment deal to boost their visibility. Their drivers and fairway woods, in particular, are a common sight at events.
The Exotics C721 irons, on the other hand, are a rarity in the professional ranks.
In fact, Daly is the first pro to employ the players-distance model on Tour. The hollow-body construction and military-grade maraging steel L-Cup face are geared for forgiveness and distance — two things Daly has rarely needed in his career.
Daly’s iron acceptance is a reminder that even the best players in the world can benefit from an iron combo that’s widely accepted by a large majority of the golfing population.
Tying it together
Viktor Hovland finished T3 at the Valspar Championship with new Ping i59 irons and Glide Forged Pro wedges that recently went in the bag. The changes just happened to coincide with a switch to Titleist’s 2021 Pro V1 ball the same week.
While ball changes can be tricky for elite-level players, Hovland made a seamless transition after picking up ball speed and short game control during a practice session in New Orleans.
“I’ve really liked it at tournaments just when I’ve been chipping around greens,” Hovland said. “I feel like I’m still able to launch the ball up in the air a little bit while getting that spin. 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 prior generation), 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, you need spin to get the ball to stop.”
Quick-hitters: Sam Burns’ win came with an all-Callaway setup. … Kevin Kisner swapped his Odyssey arm-lock putter for a conventional Odyssey 2-Ball Ten.
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