2016 AT&T Byron Nelson
Under the ominous Texas skies, there was a palpable buzz in the wake of Jason Day’s dominant finish at THE PLAYERS—a resounding 4-shot victory that further widened the gap between the #1 player in the world and his chasers. The win was Day’s 7th in his last 17 starts. Think about that for a second…that’s a winning percentage of 41%. Not impressed yet? Among his seven wins are a major championship, two FedExCup Playoff events, a WGC, and THE PLAYERS—inarguably tournaments boasting the strongest fields in the world. To say he’s dominant is an understatement.
With a firm lock on #1, Day and the PGA TOUR traveled west to the Lone Star State and into Irving, Texas, home of the AT&T Byron Nelson. TaylorMade staffers have fared well at the tournament in years past, including Day himself, whose first victory on Tour came here back in 2010. Since then, fellow staffers Brendon Todd and Steven Bowditch made it back-to-back for Team TaylorMade with victories in ’14 & ’15, respectively. Generally a slower week on the circuit for notable equipment changes, it was interest in Day’s Spider Limited putter that followed the Tour from Sawgrass to the TPC Four Seasons.
This week also marked the official launch of the new putters, which were inspired by Day himself. He first put his Spider Limited Red prototype into the bag at the RBC Heritage last month. After working on softening the insert to his preference, Day put the putter back in play at TPC Sawgrass and quite simply, he dominated with it. When the best player in the world wins with a new piece of equipment, the rest of the Tour takes notice. Early in the week, the TaylorMade Tour team issued 20 Spider Limited putters to our staffers to test. The number of players not on staff who stopped by asking to see “Jason Day’s putter” was something our Tour team had never seen before with a putter—and this includes the introduction of the Corza Ghost in 2010.
“Having been through the phenomenon that was Corza Ghost, this tops that. The buzz has been nothing short of overwhelming. Our staffers, other players, caddies – they’re all interested in Jason’s putter. We’re thrilled by the buzz these have generated.” Bill Price, Senior Director, Product Creation, Putters
While it takes time for a new product to find its way into bags of the best players in the world, we’re confident you’ll start seeing an abundance of Spider Red flatsticks in play in the coming weeks. Out of the 20 players that our Tour team built/issued Spider Limited putters for this week, five have already put them in play at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
In case you hadn’t seen, fellow staffer Justin Rose got the itch to try a Spider Limited putter, so we built a custom Spider Limited for Justin Rose that had a milled face (milled out of the stainless steel body) instead of a Pure Roll insert. Subtle ridges were also added to the putter’s crown, which makes it slightly different in appearance from Jason’s.
Generally a slower week on Tour for equipment changes in advance of the U.S. Open, here’s a snapshot of some of the other changes a few of our staffers made early in the week:
One of the best wedge players on Tour, DJ is constantly changing his set dependent on the course and types of shots he’ll be hitting. At THE PLAYERS, he employed a 47/52/60 setup. This week, the team built him a 54*(actual loft) Tour Preferred EF wedge in the Tour grind which he put into play. Last year, Johnson led the field with an 85% scrambling percentage, getting up-and-down 17 out of 20 times en route to a T8 finish.
The defending champion, Bowditch has long been loyal to his TaylorMade JetSpeed fairway wood, which he used here last year en route to his second career PGA TOUR victory and through the Presidents Cup. However, he spent time on the range this week with both the M1 & M2 fairways, testing a variety of shafts at the same time. Looking for a lower, more piercing, consistent ball flight, he made the switch to a 14* M2 with a Fujikura Tour Spec 83x shaft, which he put into play yesterday.
Brian Gay likes experimenting with new gear and was looking for a more penetrating ball flight from his fairway wood. He’d been using a 15* M2 with a Project X HZRDUS Black shaft, but after some time working on the range, he made the switch to a lower lofted M2, opting for a 13* with the same Project X HZRDUS shaft. With the anticipated windy conditions in Irving, this will also help him keep the ball lower off the tee on holes where accuracy is a premium.
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