It’s now three weeks and three wins to start the new decade for players trusting their success to Titleist golf balls on the PGA Tour. This time it was Andrew Landry (Pro V1x) who followed Justin Thomas (Sentry Tournament of Champions) and Cameron Smith (Sony Open in Hawaii) into the Titleist Winners’ Circle with a two-shot victory at The American Express.
Landry fired four consecutive rounds in the 60’s to finish with a 26-under, 262 victory total, holding off runner-up Abraham Ancer (Pro V1). Ancer raced 31 positions up the leaderboard after tying for the day’s best score of 9-under par 63.
Scottie Scheffler (Pro V1), with whom Landry shared the overnight lead, finished solo 3rd, another shot back. Titleist Brand Ambassador Bud Cauley (Pro V1, TS3/9.5° driver, TS2/13.5° fairway metal, U500 3-iron, 620 CB 4-iron, 620 MB/5-9 irons, Vokey Design SM8 pitching/46°, gap/52°, sand/56° and WW lob/60° wedges, Scotty Cameron 340 putter) tied for 4th following a final round 65.
Landry broke a tie with Ancer with a birdie on the 17th hole, and then secured his second career PGA TOUR win with another on the final hole (his first was at the 2018 Valero Texas Open).
OVER 100 MORE GOLF BALLS:
Titleist was the overwhelming leader in the golf ball category with 115 players (74%) in the field teeing up a Pro V1 or Pro V1x – over 100 more than the nearest competitor with 14.
TITLEIST DISTANCES ITSELF AS THE TEE-TO-GREEN EQUIPMENT FAVORITE:
Titleist golf club success was equally impressive, topping the driver category once again with 45 (29%) in play – 12 more than the nearest competitor.
Titleist continues to more than double the nearest competitor in the iron category, this week with 47 (30%) sets in play, 25 more than the next closest brand (22). More than half of all the utility irons (45/54%) and wedges (236/54%) in play were Titleist, solidifying its position as the overwhelming tee-to-green favorite on the PGA TOUR.
A course scenic view as Bud Cauley hits out of the greenside bunker on the 16th hole during the third round of the The American Express on the Stadium Course at PGA West on January 18, 2020 in La Quinta, California
Lee Westwood (Pro V1x) captured the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to secure his 25th career European Tour title and become just the third European Tour player with a win in four different decades. It also marked his 44th victory on the worldwide professional tours – all accomplished with a Titleist golf ball.
More than 23 years after earning his first career win at the 1996 Volvo Scandinavian Masters, the 46-year old fired four consecutive rounds in the 60’s en route to a 19-under 269 victory total, two shots clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick (Pro V1x), and Victor Perez (Pro V1) who finished with a 9-under par 63 to race up the leaderboard.
In fact, each of the top seven finishers and 10 of the 11 who were among the top 10 and ties, relied upon a Titleist golf ball for their success. Louis Oosthuizen (Pro V1) finished solo 5th, another two shots back, and was followed by Ross Fisher (Pro V1x) and Shaun Norris (Pro V1x) who tied for 6th.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Bernd Wiesberger, who started the final round one shot behind Westwood, finished in a four-way tie for 8th. In addition to his Pro V1 golf ball, his full bag of Titleist clubs included a TS3 (8.5°) driver; TS3 (13.5°) and TS2 (18.0°) fairway metals; U-500 3-iron; a split set of 620 CB (4-6) and 620 MB (7-9) irons; Vokey Design SM8 pitching (46°), sand (53°) and lob (59°) wedges; and a Scotty Cameron T5W putter.
THE REST OF THE STORY:
Why did the 2017 Masters champion really become a free agent to start 2020? After much early-in-the-week discussion of his golf club switch when he showed up at the Abu Dhabi Championship with a mixed bag, he expanded upon his decision following a first round 67. He detailed that it was his previous equipment sponsor’s insistence that he play the brand's golf ball that caused the split. He was ranked No. 10 in the world when he first joined his previous company in January 2018 - and was No. 41 heading into last week.
"Well, it's quite simple," he said. "Obviously we were with cally. Unfortunately, I wasn't comfortable enough with the golf ball, and they needed me to play it. We decided to kind of part ways…”
The golf ball switch - from the brand he was under contract to play to Titleist, actually took place at the Northern Trust last August, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. After not advancing past the first of three playoff events, he took his game to Europe where, in just his third tournament after transitioning to the Pro V1, he won the KLM Open. This week at Abu Dhabi he finished in a four-way tie for 8th while continuing to play the Pro V1.
NEW VOKEY SM8 SUCCESS CONTINUES ON EUROPEAN TOUR:
Just one week after establishing a new record as the most played wedge model at a single PGA TOUR event, the Vokey Design SM8 debuted on the European Tour – with overwhelming success. A total of 95 Vokey Design SM8 wedges were in the bags of players at the Abu Dhabi Championship, easily outdistancing its nearest competitor as the most played wedge model at the event.
Three SM8’s were in the bag of one of the runners-up, as well as Titleist Brand Ambassador Bernd Wiesberger. In addition, the World No. 1 was carrying a pair of SM8’s (gap/52°, sand/56°) in his return to action in 2020. The official worldwide launch of the new Vokey Design SM8’s will take place on Tuesday at the PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day when Bob Vokey and Titleist Tour Representative Aaron Dill will be joined by short game guru Brad Faxon to demonstrate and share the features and benefits of the new line with PGA professionals.
It took an extra day, but Gaby Lopez (Pro V1x) captured the LPGA’s season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions with a birdie on the seventh extra hole of a three-player sudden death playoff. Lopez converted a 30-foot putt for birdie on Monday morning to top the No. 6-ranked player in the world. The third participant was eliminated on the third extra hole. The win was the second of Lopez’s LPGA Tour career.
The pair played the same 197-yard 18th hole at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons five times on Sunday — all with pars — before being halted by darkness. They played the same hole twice on Monday. There were only six birdies at the 18th hole all week, and Lopez made three of them, including one on the last hole of regulation to earn a spot in a playoff.
In addition to playing the Titleist Pro V1x, the champion was also the first to win on the LPGA Tour with a combination of new T-100 (6-GW) and T-200 (5) irons, which she was playing for the first time ever in competition. She also carried a pair of Titleist 818 H2 hybrids (19°, 25°) and Vokey Design SM7 sand (54°) and lob (60°) wedges.
It was an all-Titleist Pro V1x playoff at the prestigious Eye of Africa PGA Championship, where Darren Fichardt topped Matias Calderon with a birdie on the third extra hole. Both finished on 20-under par, one shot clear of their nearest challenger and three better than Thriston Lawrence (Pro V1), who finished solo 4th.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Danie van Tonder (Pro V1x, TS3 driver, TS2 fairway metals, 818 H1 hybrid, 718 CB irons, Vokey Design SM7 wedges, Scotty Cameron Futura T5MB putter) was solo 5th, another shot back.
Titleist was the most relied upon golf ball with 131 (84%) players, more than seven times the nearest competitor (17).