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We here at Tuna Golf love our toys.  If this were an ideal world, we’d all have enough discretionary income to purchase bags with every conceivable club combination imaginable, from different fairway wood/hybrid combos to numerous wedge assortments complete with different sole grinds, bounce options and fresh grooves everytime we tee it up, but guess what?  We don’t have that luxury.

PGA pros do…and boy, do they.

Of course there are the pros that keep the same stuff in the bag no matter what.  A drastic change for Tiger is switching his 5-wood out for a 2-iron and you’ll never see him with anything other than a PW, 54/56 (depending on where you get your info), 60 wedge combination.  Davis Love III still uses Titleist 680 blades, despite Titleist BEGGING him to game their newer offerings.  Calc still plays Ping Eye 2’s and Chris DiMarco is still using Ping i3 irons.  For some guys, equipment never changes, but for a lot of PGA pros, a new week means a different bag.

Phil Mickelson: Does this even need to be said?  Lets look some recent Mickelson equipment adventures…two drivers in the bag at the 2007 Players, no driver at the 2008 US Open, no 6-iron and FIVE wedges at Colonial, the list is seemingly endless, and we’re not even going to touch putters because he plays a new one seemingly every round.

Phil loves him some goodies.  Callaway pretty much invented the switchable driver shafts which resulted in the iMix line for Phil.  So far this year, he’s used three different driver shafts and switched from KBS Tour shafts in his irons back to his ol’ reliable Project X’s and God only knows what different wedge combos he’s bagged…this inclusion needs no discussion.  Phil’s the king.

Charles Howell III: Ah, yes…the golf nerd inclusion.

New week?  New driver.  Simple as that.

Ever since CHIII moved on to a Bridgestone endorsement, he’s had free reign to tinker with drivers as Bridgestone contracts are typically ball, glove and hat only, and in certain cases (Freddie, Appleby) irons and wedges.  Bridgestone doesn’t care if you use their woods as that’s not their moneymaker, what is is the ball.  So CHIII uses this to get from underneath the cadre of FT-5’s he was gaming to try out every driver by every single manufacterer under the sun.  He’s used a Ping Rapture V2 before it was released, a Titleist 909 D2, various Taylor Made’s, and I think, somewhere, there’s a picture of him using a Cally FT-9 for a practice round.  Dear lord that’s a lotta driving.

But driver heads are one thing, shafts are another.  And frankly, we don’t have the bandwidth to cover that.

Vijay Singh: This is a strange entry as Vijay basically uses the same stuff for years.  He still uses an old-model Cleveland HiBore XL that’s bent open and has a loft of 6* and you’ll even find an old Callaway SteelHead 7 wood bent to a 5-wood loft in there that’s probably as old as a sixth-grader.  Veej has always played blades, and his ever-trusty Cleveland CG-1 irons in black pearl will probably be in his bag until he’s dead, but the thing that puts him on this list isn’t wholesale club changes, it’s his wedges, putters and training aids.

Vijay is one of the few pros that has the luxury of having enough status where asking for brand new wedges every tournament isn’t that big of a deal.  And you better believe he takes advantage of that in spades.  Seriously, new wedges EVERY tourney?  A tad excessive, no?

The putters are a different story.  Famously lax in this department, Veej decided to go the “different putter until something works” route and has played everything from a broomstick, long-putter to a traditional length one.  He seemingly favors the belly model Never Compromise mallet, but has been seen with the same putter in different lengths, a belly putter with an Anser-style head, a boomerang style head and a bunch of different models that are probably collecting dust in his garage.  Nothing seems to work and you just know he’s salty about that.

And that brings us to the training aids.  Is it any surprise that Vijay, the hardest-workingest pro in the biz, uses pretty much every training aid ever invented?  Check him out at the range sometime, he’s got EVERYTHING out there from arm braces to alignment tools.  You can see his face plastered on ads for the Speed Stick, some ideal golf mat, that new audio training device that you saw Hank Haney use on Charles Barkley and all sorts of ridiculous things that nobody has any idea of.  If he didn’t get everything for free, I’d be he’d have spent more money on training aids than I’ve seen in my entire lifetime.

Sergio Garcia: When you’re talking about wholesale bag makeovers, Sergio is the king.  As the Taylor Made poster boy (when 75% of your sales are from woods, wouldn’t you want one of the best wood players ever showing them off?), Sergio gets paid handsomely to game the latest TMAG has to offer.  And now…that’s trickling into his irons as well, as he can be seen using the new TMAG Tour Preferred irons despite the fact he’s used blades his entire career.

Part of me thinks that this is simply a money issue because Sergio has said, much to TMAG’s dismay, that he doesn’t like the new models and, if it was his choice, he’d still have his TM SuperQuad with the 110g Rombax shaft in there, but money talks, and a rumored $200k bonus to put the Tour Burner in his bag last year hammers this point home.

Sergio is also a member of the “new wedge every week” club, and before tournaments, if he’s not on the range, you can find him in TM’s tour van doing his own grindings for his wedges next to Retief Goosen.  And putters?  Yeesh…Sergio needs to get a clue.  He was putting beautifully at the end of 2008 using an older Titleist Newport model, so what does he do?  Lets TM get in his pocket again and roll out the new Kia Mia putter line they have coming out that’s supposed to take away some of Scotty Cameron’s stranglehold on the market.  Are you surprised he’s regressed?  Me neither.

The PGA pros have more resources at their disposal than we could ever imagine.  When the difference between a win and a slot on the “notables” screen is a stroke per day, no stone is left unturned, and when a guy who loves toys gets dropped in a situation like this?  It’s like a fat kid running loose in a candy store with no parental supervision.  It’s not as much a lifestyle as it is an addiction with enablers PAYING the addict, and all I can say is that I’m jealous as hell.

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