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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One week following the announcement of our newest driver, the FedEx St. Jude Classic marked the PGA Tour debut of the R1 Black and was met with high interest and excitement from our PGA Tour Staff professionals. From natural curiosity about the color change after three years-plus offering our Tour Staff exclusively white metalwoods to the contrasting style of the ghosted crown graphics of R1 Black in comparison to R1, there was no shortage of chatter and buzz inside, and outside the locker room at TPC Southwind.

After a traditionally slow Monday in which the majority of players competed in final qualifying stages for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, the action picked up straight away Tuesday and didn’t stop until we shut the truck down Wednesday. Although you wouldn’t necessarily correlate a new color option projecting to extensive testing, we engaged in a lot of comparison scenarios on the Trackman this week with players who showed up the Memphis with R1 in the bag. Below is a list of some of the early builds we made for R1 Black at Memphis.

  • Dustin Johnson (10.5 loft, Fujikura 2.0 X shaft, 45 ¾”, Neutral Face Angle, 7 heel, 7 toe)
  • Boo Weekley (9.75 loft, Fujikura 6.1 Speeder X, 45 ¾”, Neutral Face Angle, 6 heel, 6 toe)
  • Sean O’Hair (9.5 loft, USTM, 45.5”, Neutral Face Angle, Tipped 1”, 6 heel, 8 toe)
  • Brian Gay (9.5 loft, Oban Purple 65 X, 45 ¾, O1 Face Angle, 6 heel, 6 toe)
  • Peter Hanson (8.75 loft, UST Miyama Accra 65 X, Neutral Face Angle, 7 heel, 8 toe)
  • Ken Duke (9.5 loft, Aldila Tour Green 65 X, O1 Face Angle, 5 heel, 6 toe)
  • Chad Campbell (8 loft, True Temper PX Tour 52, 45.25”, Neutral Face Angle, 8 heel, 8 toe)
  • Matt Bettencourt (10.5 loft, Fujikura Motore Speeder 8.2 TS X, N Face Angle, 10 heel, 2 toe)

Tour Staffers who switched into R1 Black the first week on Tour included Johnson as well as Gay and Hanson. TaylorMade was again the No. 1 driver brand in Memphis with R1 coming in as the dominant No. 1 model. Of the 32 R1 drivers in play, 6 were R1 Black.

The most noteworthy switch Thursday was made by the defending Champion, Johnson, who put R1 Black straight into his bag after a positive trial Tuesday and an encouraging test run against the course conditions during Wednesday’s Pro-Am. The decision worked brilliantly out of the gates for Johnson, who has TaylorMade VP of Operations, Keith Sbarbaro, on his bag for a couple weeks as regular caddy Bobby Brown’s fiancée is expecting a child. DJ opened with 67 Thursday, averaging a field-best 335.7 yards off the tee in round one, before finishing T10 Sunday.

Stay tuned for more on R1 Black’s momentum on Tour as players head to Philadelphia to compete in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.

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