Ranking the 5 Worst Equipment Changes by a PGA Tour Player
Any time a professional golfer makes a change in equipment, there are always questions.
Often, a player makes a change for a lucrative contract like Rory McIlroy did in 2013. Going to a new set of clubs looked like a really bad idea as he struggled for most of the year.
Remember when Phil Mickelson switched out his clubs just before the 2004 Ryder Cup?
The examples in this list ranking the five worst equipment changes by a tour player are much more severe and had more long-lasting negative effects on players' careers.
Check out the list and let me know what you think.
5. David Duval
David Duval no doubt will go down in PGA Tour history as one of the most unique characters in the game.
In his best days, he was a very good player, winning 13 times on the tour. Twelve of those victories came while playing Titleist clubs, but after legal proceedings between him and Titleist, he moved on to play Nike clubs in 2001.
He had almost immediate success, winning the Open Championship that year.
But that was the highlight. Two years later he made four cuts, didn't have a single top-25 finish and earned $85,000.
It must be noted that injuries to his back, neck and wrist caused his play to fall off considerably; however, the switch in clubs played a factor in him eventually losing his tour card in 2011.
4. Corey Pavin
At 5'9", 155 pounds, Corey Pavin was one of the smallest players on the PGA Tour, but that didn't prevent him from winning 15 times. From 1984 to 1988, Pavin won seven times with his VAS cast irons, which carried a purple logo.
His most famous win came in the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, a win highlighted by a laser-like 4-wood to the 18th green that led to the win over Greg Norman.
Pavin signed a five-year, seven-figure sponsorship agreement with PRGR and did not crack the top 100 for the length of that contract. The Japanese company could not get Pavin's specifications right. That was particularly so with his driver, and he ended up being even shorter off the tee.
In 1997, with his new clubs, Pavin had just one top-10 finish and missed the cut in half of his 22 starts, earning just $99,000.
3. Lee Janzen
Lee Janzen only won eight times on the PGA Tour, and two of those were U.S. Open victories (in 1993 and 1998).
Not long after the first U.S. Open victory, Janzen switched from Founders Club to Ben Hogan irons. That switch to Hogan H40 irons, which were basically a club for average amateurs, was a disaster. The bottom fell out of his game with his first 11 tournaments resulting in finishes outside the top 20.
Janzen was able to switch to Hogan's Apex forged irons and got back on track, winning the Buick Classic in 1994.
The switch was a costly one for Janzen, who was in his prime at the time. He switched again in 1995, this time to Jack Nicklaus forged blades. That switch produced three wins that year.
He switched again—this time to TaylorMade, the clubs he used to win the 1998 U.S. Open—but overall they didn't produce major results, either.
2. Curtis Strange
Curtis Strange was one of the most ferocious competitors in golf. He was always locked on between the ropes and wasn't always warm and fuzzy out there.
But he was one of the most successful golfers of his time. Strange is the last man to win back-to-back U.S. Opens (1988 and 1989) and won at least one time per year on the PGA Tour from 1983 through 1989. It should be noted that Strange led by two shots going into the final round of the 1990 U.S. Open but couldn't nail down the third straight victory.
After the 1989 U.S. Open, Strange began tweaking his swing and switched from his longtime MacGregor clubs to Maruman. He was never quite the same after that, even though he did post six top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
His earnings in the first year with the new sticks dropped almost $500,000 from the year before.
Strange did not win another event on the PGA Tour.
1. Nick Price
Nick Price was at the top of his game in the 1990s.
He won 16 times in that decade, including back-to-back majors in 1994, the Open Championship and PGA Championship.
During most of that time, he played with Golden Ram irons. But in 1995, he switched to a new company, Atrigon, signing a 10-year deal reported to be worth $25 million, according to Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch.
As Price found out, the grass isn't always on the other side of the fence as his new deal didn't materialize. The only club Atrigon made at the time was a driver. The plan for Price to design a set of signature irons fell through, and Price walked.
That walk took him to another under-the-radar company, Goldwin.
Bottom line: Price won only three more times before joining the Champions Tour in 2007.