TOUR REPORT — 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge
This week, the PGA TOUR moves from Hawaii to the desert to kick off the first leg of the “West Coast Swing” at PGA WEST in La Quinta, California. Not only is this event the first event of 2017 within the continental United States, it is also the first event where the TaylorMade Tour Truck is on-site to dial in our Tour staffers with all the latest 2017 equipment.
From Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon, the truck was buzzing with activity. Tour players, caddies, equipment reps, and Tour Truck technicians were continuously moving back and forth from the truck to the range, tinkering with new heads, weight adjustments, lofts, and lies until they were optimally fitted for their new clubs.
In addition to the 2017 M drivers and fairways, one of the hottest items out on Tour this week were the new P770 and P750 irons. These forged irons have already been put into play by Jason Day and Justin Rose in Hawaii (under the “Tour Proto” moniker), and with the Tour Truck available to build out new sets, many other Tour athletes were eager to put them into play for the first time.
“Having worked on Tour for over 20 years, I can say with confidence that I have never seen our Tour players gravitate toward a new set of irons like they have for the P770 and P750 Tour Proto irons.”
– Keith Sbarbaro, VP Tour Operations
John Huh, currently playing a set of P770, had raving reviews out on the range, “I love the look and feel. They’re the best irons I’ve had in probably 10 years. The switch was easy.”
Additionally, Jon Rahm has been testing his new P750 irons and was looking forward to putting them in play at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
“The irons are great. They feel great. I like to have the forgiveness of cavity-back irons with the feel of muscle-backs, so having everything all together is a pretty amazing combo.”
Rahm, who enters 2017 as a rookie after earning his PGA TOUR card last season, also spent some time ahead of the CareerBuilder at TaylorMade headquarters in Carlsbad, CA to get an early taste of the new equipment.
“I had already been fit for my new M driver, so all I needed was a new 3-wood and 5-wood. The old M2 3-wood honestly went farther than I needed, and I wanted something that was easier to launch it up in the air when I want more height or more carry. So the guys at The Kingdom got me into the new 17° M1, which they cut down a little shorter for more control. Compared to my M2 last year, this M1 also gives me a little more height and more spin, so it was even easier for me to control.”
Rahm further elaborated on how he has worked at dialing in his distances and gapping, citing that his new M1 fairway woods provide him with optimal gapping and performance he was looking for.
“Now I have a perfect 20-yard gap between 3-wood and 5-wood. I know if I want to hit a hard 5-wood, it will be similar to a soft 3-wood. So with the new M1 fairway woods, I have much more confidence in knowing that the ball is going to perform the way I want.”
Even for players like Rahm, who are focusing on their own preparation for the week, it’s difficult not to notice the infectious buzz surrounding the new products. To him, it was no surprise that staffers and non-staffers alike were rushing to get their hands on the 2017 M Family.
“There's a reason why it's the most used driver on Tour. I feel like the new one is more forgiving. There's nothing longer out there, that's for sure. And the ’17 model is even more forgiving than before.
There’s also nothing as pretty out here on Tour. I look forward to playing something that looks good, feels good, sounds good, and performs good. To be honest, if you're not getting paid to use another driver, then I don't know why you would play anything other than the M Family.”
- Jon Rahm
Based on his performance in 2016, his early preparation in 2017, and a palpable level of confidence with a club in his hands, Jon Rahm will certainly be a player to watch in every event he plays in this year. Already adjusted to a full set of new TaylorMade clubs and the new TP5x ball, Rahm looks to make an early statement in his first official season on the PGA TOUR.
- Compared his 9.5° Aeroburner to the 9.5° ’17 M1 driver using the same Project X LZ 70g shaft
- Noticed less spin and more accuracy in the head-to-head comparison
- “This is pure. I’m pretty excited. It’s far and straight as ****.”
- Tested new M drivers in addition to his P770 irons
- Compared ’17 M1 (10.5°) to ’17 M2 and his current gamer
- “2017 drivers sound WAY better.”
- Testing ’17 M2 vs his ’16 M2
- Found it starts more on line and spins more optimally for his swing
- Tested new MG wedges on the range
- He prefers the more aggressive look and softer feel with the surface-milled grind
- Added a 2017 M1 driver (460cc) at 9.5° into the bag
- Opted to add in an 8.5° 2017 M2 driver
- Worked closely with Tour technicians to dial in a 15° M1 fairway wood and put it in play
Players with P700-Series irons in play:
Miguel Carballo – P770 (4-P)
Roberto Castro – P750 Tour Proto (3-P)
John Huh – P770 (4-P)
Jon Rahm – P750 Tour Proto (5-P)
Camillo Villegas - P770 (5-P)
Nick Watney - P750 Tour Proto (4-P)