After developing a crack on the face of his 9-degree TaylorMade R11 the week before the Maybank Malaysian Open, Padraig Harrington decided to try something different. He elected to play the R 1 Driver, and finished T 6 in the rain-shortened event. He liked the driver so much he has opted to play it this week at The Valero Texas Open.
Even though the three-time major champion liked the new stick, he felt it needed a little tweaking, and spent the entirety of Tuesday afternoon getting it suited to his swing. Harrington decided to go with a more neutral shot shape weight setup, as opposed to his old driver that had a toe-weighted bias.
“The new model, I could have set up the old way,” Harrington said, “But probably in hindsight it has a little bit too much bias in it, so trying to go for a more neutral driver, which is better for my golf swing long‑term. So it’s a question of working on something like that.
“I’ve changed back to an absolutely neutral driver rather than a toe‑weighted driver, and it’s good for my golf swing. I just have to get used to it and know when I hit a left, it’s exactly where it’s coming from. And if I hit it right, I know where it’s coming from. Whereas, with the old driver, every shot that came out, it was very much a question with the old driver of it being the Indian and not the arrow, because I knew exactly this causes this effect.”
Harrington could have set up the new driver to mirror his old R11, but decided that maybe th old club may have had too much weight in the toe. If he can make the cut in San Antonio, he will have four rounds to get used to the new feel before he takes it on to Augusta.
“When you get a new driver, there is always an element of, OK, I see this happening. I didn’t think I did that. It just takes a while to get used to knowing what a golf club does. So it’s taken a little work in terms of swing as well. Then I’ll only be able to tell when I get the card in my hand. Hopefully, I’ll have to hit a straight shot down the 18 on Sunday, and then I’ll really know how good the driver is.”
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