SAN DIEGO —
The kikuyu rough here at Torrey Pines gets deeper the farther your stray from the lush fairways. Miss the short stuff by a few feet and your ball will likely perch in the two-inch-deep grass. Blow your shot 20 yards wide and you’ll end up in a five- or six-inch-deep mess. Click on the photo at right for a closer look.
Since everyone is going to miss fairways and greens, the most popular request in the equipment vans this week is for fresh wedges.
"Guys are looking for a little more bite out of this rough," said Wade Liles, TaylorMade’s PGA Tour technician. "We’re making them some of our Z Groove wedges. It’s got a little bit more aggressive groove to give you more bite, more check. And of course at an event like this where the rough is thicker and the greens are quick, that’s what you are looking for."
TayorMade created new Z Groove wedges for Sergio Garcia before the Players Championship, and another set this week.
In the Callaway truck, company club builders have made about 20 wedges for players. "’Fresh grooves’ is a phrase we have been using a lot," said Barry Lyda, Callaway’s pro tour representative. "And several of the guys are going to a 62° or 63° wedge and trying them. They have taken them out in practice rounds to see if it is something that they’ll need." Michael Campbell, winner of the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, tested a Callaway 63° this week.
According to Cleveland Golf’s Michael Jolly, Vijay Singh will also be using new Cleveland CG 12 wedges (right) at the U.S. Open. The Big Fijian will have a 54° sand wedge, a 60° lob wedge (bent to 59°) and a 64° wedge too.
On the other side of the spectrum, Bob Vokey, wedge designer for Titleist, said his workload has been lighter than usual. "At first I thought I would get lots of requests, but it’s been very few in relation to what I would normally get." Vokey said he’s definitely had fewer requests at Torrey Pines than he did at Oakmont or Winged Foot. "Because of the way Oakmont was set up, I made a few new 64° wedges, but not this year. I just did a little work to D.J. Trahan’s 64°. That’s it."
Still, he made replacement wedges for both Steve Stricker and the 2006 U.S. Open champion, Geoff Ogilvy. Again, both players wanted to have sharp, fresh grooves to help them improve their short-game touch.
Stricker will be using a Vokey Design 60° wedge with 12° of bounce. Ogilvy opts for a Vokey Design 60° T Grind wedge. It’s the same style of wedge he played at Winged Foot.