Golf's offseason is not unlike baseball's, where players whose contracts
expire weigh their options and, in some instances, sign new deals elsewhere.
And although the last few weeks have provided "free agents" an opportunity
to practice with their new equipment, sometimes it takes awhile to hit a
"Until you play with equipment in a tournament, you're never 100 percent
certain how it's going to react," said Ron Graham, PGA Tour rep for Wilson.
"We signed D.J. Trahan, and he told me, 'I'm going to be the easiest guy you
ever dealt with.' But I'm sure we'll have to change a grind or move some
weight around as he gets used to the Pi5 irons."
David Toms, the highest-ranked player to make a change, went from Cleveland
to TaylorMade but did not expect a heavy breaking-in period despite not
using his new clubs prior to arriving in Hawaii.
"My specs are the same, and it's still high-quality equipment," said Toms,
who is using 13 TaylorMade clubs, with the lone holdovers a Cleveland QuadPro
5-wood and the Titleist Pro V1 ball.
Although Toms was the most accomplished player to make a change, other
notables moved, too. Lucas Glover switched to Nike Golf, where he will play
a full line of the company's equipment. Bridgestone nabbed Nationwide Tour
grad Kevin Stadler, and Srixon added Henrik Stenson, a move made due to
Stenson's global appeal as well as his appearances on the PGA Tour.
One player -- Carl Pettersson -- considered changing manufacturers but did
not. Word is the up-and-coming Swede had a deal in place with another
company, but stayed with Nike. As in baseball: Sometimes a "team" is better
off keeping the players it has.
E. Michael Johnson is the equipment editor for Golf World magazine.