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Adam Scott tees it up this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational without a driver and has instead introduced a stronger (13 degree) 3-wood. The decision flew under the radar entering the event and the exact reasoning is not yet known.
The Masters champion has shown a lot of promise in recent weeks, with three top ten finishes in his last four competitive starts but his decision to enter the first round at Bay Hill without a driver leaves more questions than it does answers. Scott is ranked 17th in driving distance with an average of 311.8 yards however, ranks 183rd in driving accuracy with just 52% of fairways hit. The rough at Bay Hill this year has been described as the thickest in 20 years and perhaps Scott has acknowledged that with the introduction of a strong 3-wood.
Whilst Scott is without a driver, he is not without power. In the early morning coverage, he still generated 175 mph ball speed, just shy of 4 mph faster than the tour average and only 5 mph slower than his own average this year (which equates to roughly 15-yards). For those unfamiliar with ball speed, it is a measure of how fast the golf ball is travelling when it comes off the face of the club.
The concept of playing competitive golf without a driver is not new. Phil Mickelson entered the 2013 Masters with a purpose-built Callaway club that he titled: “The Phrankenwood”. With a head marginally bigger than a ‘standard’ 3-wood and the loft and shaft of a traditional driver, Mickelson was able to significantly reduce his spin and hit more of a controlled drive. That year, the Masters was won, ironically, by Adam Scott.
In 2006, Tiger Woods won the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool having only used his driver once. He played 71 holes using a 2 iron or less en route to his second consecutive Open Championship and his third in total. That week, his driver was merely a decoration.
As of the beginning of 2022, Adam Scott is no longer a Titleist staff player throughout the bag. Whilst a ball, shoe and glove deal remains, he is free to test other products. The Australian has played Titleist clubs for the majority of his professional career.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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