1 Back in black. What made you decide to return to a darker shade for the R1 driver? Is white still going to be available in future TaylorMade products?
Tom Kroll, Product Evangelist: We listen closely to what golfers have to say about our equipment. By doing so, we learned that a white crown isn't for all of them. We understand that a golfer has to be comfortable with what he sees behind the ball at address, so we created the R1 Black because we don't want the color of the crown to keep any golfer from benefiting from the most adjustable driver we've ever created. The R1 Black head is exactly like the original R1–it offers 12 loft-sleeve settings and 7 face-angle positions, as well as two movable shot-shape weights, which together allow you to tune the 168 different ways to fit it to your swing to optimize distance and accuracy. The only difference is the crown color.
2 In the wake of Justin Rose's clutch chip with his fairway wood on the 18th at Merion, has anything changed in the way you might design future woods and hybrids, i.e., to accommodate more short shots around the green?
Kroll: Our fairway woods and Rescue clubs are already designed to perform optimally on greenside shots. Their CG locations are very low, their MOI is high to create a large sweet spot, and the soles are designed to minimize turf resistance. We're thrilled Justin's RBZ Stage 2 3-wood performed so well for him on such a critical shot.
3 The anchored-style putting ban looks like it's going to happen. Do you think this will cause a shakeup on Tour, or will players who anchor their putters adjust more easily than people think?
Brian Bazzel, Director of Product Creation for Putters: I can't speak for all Tour players, but what I can say is that since TaylorMade introduced the counterbalanced Spider putters, several players have found great success. Case in point, Justin Rose winning the U.S. Open with the counterbalanced Spider Blade. This alternative to anchoring provides a great deal of stability, perhaps making the transition a bit easier than they first anticipated.
4 What's the most popular PGA Tour tournament for the team back at TaylorMade HQ? Is there an event that stands out as a personal favorite for you?
Kroll: The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. It's right in our backyard!
5 The Lethal golf ball appears to be picking up steam, but so far, it's only available in white. Do you see any new colors coming down the pipe?
Lindsay Main, Product Line Manager for Golf Balls: There are no additional colors planned for Lethal, but keep an eye out for our yellow options in our Burner, SuperDeep and RocketBallz models.