Players used to treat their favorite clubs like body parts, but new technology, endorsement contracts and bonus pools have severed some old appendages. Gone are staples like Jack Nicklaus's 1958 MacGregor three-wood and Little Ben, Ben Crenshaw's battered Wilson 8802 putter. "The new technology kills the old stuff," says Nick Price. "They can make clubs now that exactly fit your swing." Today on Tour, an old club is one that's more than five years old. Here, then, is a sample of what passes for Old Favorites.
Bernhard Langer's irons (Wilson Staff forged blades—numbers 5, 6, 8 and 9—circa 1984. Used since 1991.) "I'm looking for an endorsement contract. Until then, I know what these will do. I can hit other irons farther, but I know exactly the distance I can hit these."
Tom Watson's sand wedge (Ram Tom Watson model, 56 degrees, circa 1985. Used since 1992.) "It's similar to the Wilson sand wedge I won the '82 U.S. Open with. I'll have to replace this one because it's worn out."
Nick Price's one-iron (Wilson Ultra System 45, perimeter weighted with offset, circa 1990. Used since 1997.) "I don't like the hybrid ironwoods. I hit this off the tee when I have to be straight, and I hit it higher off the fairway than others I've tried."
Jeff Sluman's sand wedge (Ping Eye2, beryllium copper, 56 degrees, circa 1985. Used since 1988.) "The bounce doesn't bother me from the fairway, so I don't need a 60-degree wedge. It helped me lead the Tour in sand saves last year."
Phil Mickelson's lob wedge (Ping Eye2, stainless steel, 61 degrees, circa 1984. Used since 1985.) "I've had it since such a young age, and I built my short game around the club. The ball reacts the way I expect, It's about the only club I use in the sand."
Scott Verplank's putter (Ping Anser, manganese bronze, circa 1966. Used since 1984.) "I've made so many putts with it, although now I've missed so many with it maybe I should switch. The head looks very good behind the ball."
Steve Jones's putter (Acushnet Bulls Eye, brass, circa 1982. Used since 1982.) "I got it at Greensboro after my clubs were stolen in my rookie year. It's the only putter I feel comfortable with on those downhill putts where you take the putter back only two inches."
Loren Roberts's putter ( Greg Norman Cobra U model, milled forging, circa 1992. Used since 1992.) "It has the right weight. I like a heavy head; this one is about E-7. I've thought about grinding Greg's name off the bottom, but I don't want to mess it up. I'm always looking for extras because very few are left. I just got a couple off the Internet."
Greg Norman's three-wood (Maruman, 13 degrees loft, circa 1990. Used since 1990.) "I'm very comfortable with the way it looks, and I can do a lot of things with it. It's pretty long off the tee, and I can hit a low slider, a high cutter or turn it over hard."