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Bag Drop: Toms, Cleveland Big Winners at the Sony


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David Toms and Vijay Singh are leading a charge for Cleveland Golf, while Lee Janzen may have (another) new equipment home.

 

bd_title.gifWhen David Toms sprinted across the finish line with a runaway victory at last week's Sony Open, it was a big win for the LSU grad. Toms' 12th PGA Tour title came just months after surgery for an irregular heartbeat that flared up during the 84 Lumber Classic late last season.

 

 

 

It was also a big win for Cleveland Golf, a company that may trail only Titleist in fans among low-handicappers and other "serious" golfers. We'll take a look at what Toms and other Cleveland staffers had in the bag at the Sony, and with an update on a possible new home for another well-travelled pro.

 

Toms is one of the best-liked golfers on the PGA Tour. His famous lay-up par to beat Phil Mickelson at the 2001 PGA Championship gave short-knockers around the world a new hero (not unlike former Cleveland staffer Corey Pavin), and his quick comeback from a heart scare last season has won him even more goodwill. Oh, and his wife Sonya is a super-hot Sports Illustrated swimsuit babe, which is nice.

 

 

 

I think it's always interesting to pay attention to what pros like Toms - the guys who don't hit the ball Daly-esque distances off the tee. Of course, Toms averaged more than 307 yards off the tee on windy hills of Hawaii at the Sony, but he's still not considered a big hitter. So his bag has to be set up the way most of us should put together our bags, with a mix of fairway woods and long irons that help get the ball in the air, and a variety of wedges to make the short game pay off.

 

 

 

At the Sony, Toms used 13 Cleveland clubs and a putter from the company's putter brand, Never Compromise. His driver was an 8.5° Launcher 460 Comp, and he carried 15° and 19° Quadpro fairway woods. He had a CG4 3-iron paired with CG2 4-9 irons. And for wedges, Toms wielded a 49° Tour Action 588 and CG10 56° and 60° models. His Never Compromise putter was from the brand's Milled Series, and Toms also used the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball.

 

 

 

Cleveland is doing a much better job of persuading its staffers to use Never Compromise putters. Vijay Singh finished 6th using one at the Sony, and Jerry Kelly had a top-15 finish with one as well. Never Compromise looked like a dying brand when Cleveland acquired the company a couple years ago, but the brand's fortunes are rising with Cleveland.

 

 

 

Singh now has top-10 finishes in both PGA Tour events this year, and he's used Cleveland's prototype HiBORE driver in each. Look for the HiBORE to build some big-time buzz before it is released in April.

 

 

 

Equipment Nomads

While players like Singh and Toms have been with Cleveland for several years, there are many tour pros that are equipment nomads. One of my favorites is Lee Janzen. The quiet two-time U.S. Open champ is known for playing tough courses well and having a great short game. And for switching equipment contracts as often as anyone else.

 

 

 

It's a shame that you can't buy golf cards that list pros' statistics by season - and which equipment company they were affiliated with for each year. Janzen's card would look like that of a true journeyman. Perhaps one of the Niekro brothers. Or Gaylord Perry.

 

 

 

In the absence of such cards, here's my rundown of Janzen's past equipment contracts. In no particular order: Hogan, Nicklaus, Founders Club, TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway. Now it looks like Janzen may be adding another notch to his belt. Bag Drop operatives report that Janzen either has signed with or soon will sign with Mizuno. No official word from Mizuno yet, but watch for Janzen to sport a Miz hat and bag when he starts his 2006 season.

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