NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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It’s common for players without equipment deals to employ a mixed bag with several brands, but Scottie Scheffler takes that concept to a different level.
Scheffler shot 59 at the Northern Trust, which helped him advance to next week’s Tour Championship. He plays seven different brands: Ping G400 LST driver; Nike VR Pro Limited 3-wood; Srixon ZU85 utility iron and Z785 4-iron; TaylorMade P730 irons; 50- and 55-degree Callaway MD4 wedges; a 60-degree Artisan Golf wedge; and a Scotty Cameron Tour Rat putter. From that list, the 3-wood stands out. The club, produced in 2011 when Scheffler was 15 years old, has remained in his bag because it fills a comfortable yardage gap.
The two most recent players to shoot 59 – Scheffler and Kevin Chappell – did so without equipment deals. There is certainly a substantial number of strong players on the PGA Tour without a deal, including all four major champions from the 2018 season.
Speaking of players who have used a handful of brands with success, it’s worth a look back at Jim Furyk’s bag from when he won the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, host of last week’s BMW Championship. It could be argued it was the most unconventional setup for a major winner in the modern era.
Furyk used a Top Flite Strata Tour Ace golf ball, and had in his bag: 8.5-degree Titleist 983K driver; 15-degree TaylorMade 200 3-wood; 19-degree Orlimar TriMetal 5-wood; Hogan Apex Plus Forged Cavity irons (he used a 3-iron but not a 4-iron during the event); 51- and 55-degree Titleist Vokey wedges; and a 60-degree Hogan Colonial Prototype wedge.
But no part of his bag will be remembered as much as his Bettinardi “Baby Ben” mallet putter.
Days before the event, Furyk planned to use a Hog prototype putter. However, the USGA deemed it non-conforming because the “tongue on the crown of the putter was not connected to the sole.” Dogleg Right, the company which made the Hog putter, had failed to submit it to the USGA before showcasing it to players.
That led Furyk to approach Bob Bettinardi, owner of the putter business located just 30 minutes from the course. Furyk and his father got in Bettinardi’s car and went to the facility to test putters, where Furyk eventually settled on a wide-body, high-moment-of-inertia putter made from aluminum.
The rest is history. A few days later, Furyk closed out a three-stroke victory ahead of Australian Stephen Leaney. His victory helped put Bettinardi on the map.
This past week, Bettinardi released the Hexperimental High MOI Prototype that pays tribute to the “Baby Ben” that Furyk won with 17 years ago. This one features a 303 stainless steel face for a softer feel at impact.