CARLSBAD, Calif, March 15, 2009 – Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) staff professional Ernie Els performed brilliantly over four rounds at the WGC-CA Championships held this past weekend at Doral Golf Resort in Miami. Eventually winning by four strokes over a star-studded field, the “Big Easy” dominated the competition with masterful control over every aspect of his game. After Sunday’s victory, Els gave credit to the new Callaway and Odyssey equipment that channeled his triumphant passage through the blustery conditions that made Doral’s infamous “Blue Monster” even more monstrous.
“First of all, my equipment is good,” Els said. Speaking specifically of his new Callaway FT Tour Driver, he added, “It was great in the wind, wasn’t ballooning, and I was hitting it quite long.”
Callaway’s new FT Tour Driver features a 440 cc multi-material clubhead with a full-length hosel and a slightly open face angle to deliver the look at address preferred by highly skilled players. FT Tour’s design combines an ultra lightweight carbon composite body that delivers extraordinary accuracy and workability, with a titanium Hyperbolic clubface that yields incredible ball speeds and increased distance. Originally introduced on the professional tours in 2009 as FT-9 Tour Authentic, the tremendous excitement that was buzzing among the world’s best players convinced Callaway officials to commercialize the product in 2010 as FT Tour. Els started off the year playing the new Callaway FT-iZ Driver, but decided to employ FT Tour at Doral. Both FT Tour and FT-iZ arrived at retail this month and feature a new product introduction retail price of $399.
Els’ favorite new piece of equipment may in fact be the new Callaway Tour i(s) golf ball, which is the softest tour ball that Callaway has ever developed. Els first fell in love with the Tour i(s) at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai this past November, an event he came very close to winning before finishing second to fellow Callaway staffer Phil Mickelson.
“The new Tour i(s) golf ball is phenomenal!” said Els in November, and then presciently added, “I’m looking forward to the future now and I think my equipment is spot-on.” This past Sunday at Doral after finishing his flawless round, Els continued the praise of Callaway’s Tour i(s), which is also Mickelson’s current ball of choice. “The golf ball I’m using, the Callaway Tour i(s), it’s a softer ball and my short game really came back,” said Els, who likens the soft feel of the new Tour i(s) to the balata balls that once dominated play prior to the introduction of today’s multi-piece golf balls.
The Callaway Tour i(s) features second-generation Dual Core that delivers outstanding spin separation for lower driver spin off the tee and higher spin within striking distance of the pin. The result is optimized performance throughout the round. Tour i(s)’ advanced HEX Aerodynamics deliver a penetrating ball flight in all wind conditions, as evidenced by Ernie’s performance in the high gusts that players battled at Doral this past weekend. Now available at retail, Callaway’s Tour i(s) golf balls feature a new product introduction retail price of $42.99 a dozen.
Sinking clutch putts is vital to success at any level, and for that Els turned to his new Odyssey White Ice #5 model to win the WGC-CA Championship. Odyssey is the # 1 Putter across the world’s major professional tours in wins, usage and top-10 finishes. The new White Ice line features a rich dark nickel finish that was inspired by tour feedback and a new insert that is 19% firmer and 92% stiffer than previous models. The White Ice insert matches well with the softer balls in play on tour this year in response to the new condition of competition regarding grooves. Odyssey’s White Ice line features increased feel, responsiveness and distance control, and are available for purchase with a new product introduction retail price of $129 for core models and $179 for progressive shapes.