Gary Woodland has his speed back. While that is likely more health-related after undergoing brain surgery than due to the Cobra Darkspeed driver, Woodland isn’t complaining.
“Darkspeed is in the bag and I’m playing more loft than I’ve ever played and that’s just the way the head has worked,” he said. “I’ve always been a low loft guy around 7 degrees. I’m at 8.5 now.”
Woodland did a lot of tinkering with different shafts with his driver last year but is switching back to his old standby, the Accra RGB, which he used to win the 2018 WM Phoenix Open and the 2019 U.S. Open. He hasn’t used it the last few years because his speed had decreased and it became a little too stiff for him.
“The shaft was a little too soft and I needed something stiffer. My clubhead speed had dropped to 120-121 mph last year but I hit 126-127 mph and I’m doing things I haven’t done in a couple of years. I don’t know if that is because I’m feeling better again and training again.”
Woodland’s other equipment change is interesting too. He inserted a lob wedge designed by Fowler, which he tried when they were practicing together at Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan’s hangout in Florida, late last year.
“Messed with it and I was like I need that,” Woodland recalled. “He grinded off the heel and put some heel relief in there. It’s been consistent more than anything, less digging and get through the turf better. I like to get fresh grooves once a month. I use a backup at home so I don’t ruin the grooves. I’m big on fresh grooves.”
Woodland played with a model with ‘RF ‘ stamped on it at the Sony Open in Hawaii but at the American Express got his own version with ‘GW.’
“Rickie’s grind is very unique and hard to replicate,” said Schomin.