Posted: 6 July 2012
Last week's start to the seeding and tour validation process for the the new prototype Titleist 913 drivers on the PGA Tour was quickly followed this week on the European Tour at the Open de France at Le Golf National.
After a busy three days of fitting and testing, 14 players stepped to the first tee at Le Golf National Thursday with a prototype Titleist 913 driver in the bag, including: Matteo Manassero, Bernd Wiesberger, George Coetzee, Jbe Kruger, Ricardo Santos, Tano Goya, Michael Jonzon, Thomas Levet, Brett Rumford, Ken Ferrie, Guillaume Cambis, Andrew Dodt, Edouard Dubois and Adrian Otaegui. (It was the same at last week's AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, where 14 players put the new prototype 913 driver in play for the first time.)
Titleist Brand Ambassador Rory McIlroy is also gaming a new prototype Titleist 913 driver, following a comprehensive fitting session last week in Ireland.
Rory was visited at home, ahead of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, by Titleist Tour Technician Mattias Jelver. Amongst the goodies that Mattias bore were a number of prototype Titleist 913D2 and 913D3 driver heads, rolls of driver shafts and his trusty Trackman launch monitor.
After an initial chat about the specific characteristics of the two heads, Rory and Mattias headed out to the range and got down to some serious work, analyzing the results of the different head and shaft combinations.
"We started with Rory's 910D2 as a benchmark and moved on from there," explained Mattias. "As we subsequently tried different combinations of the prototype 913 heads and shafts, each brought something else to the table, but eventually there was one clear choice.
"The 913D3 8.5 degrees with a VC 7.2 X Tour Spec felt great from the outset and with JP (Rory's caddie) calling out different shots – high draw, low into the wind, cut and so on – Rory was able to execute them all comfortably and producing great numbers on Trackman."
The numbers were so good, in fact, that Rory immediately put the new prototype 913 driver into play during the Irish Open.
“I have been testing the new 913 and all the Trackman numbers suggested I was hitting the ball longer and further. I’m getting less spin which is great in the wind and it carries 15 yards further in calm conditions," Rory told the Associated Foreign Press last week last week.
“The Titleist guys had it ready for me when I got here on Monday and I put it straight in the bag. I had my previous driver for almost two years but this one just performs so much better. I feel like I am hitting the ball a lot better than I am with this new driver and I feel that’s going to make a huge difference, especially around Lytham."