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."

My golf has been a little up and down. I feel like I'm playing better than the scores I'm putting up. I continue to make the majority of my cuts, but not really getting it done on the weekend. However, I know that at any week it is going to click and I can be in contention. 

I am currently on my 3rd caddie of the season right now. I let my long time caddie Basil go after Houston. It was nothing personal or anything that he did, I just felt like it was time for a change. I hired Ames' old caddie for a 4 week stint. He did a great job on the bag, however for whatever reason, I just wasn't really feeling a good connection with him. I currently have an old friend and former player (and fellow Canadian) Julien Trudeau working for me. He has been great and I can see it being a good relationship.

 

Titleist launched the new 913 drivers last week in DC and the feedback from the players has been phenomenal. I just went through an intense fitting session on the range today in West Virginia. We found a great fit for me in the 913 D3, 7.5 loft after a few tweaks and trials. I was able to keep the same shaft I had been swinging in my 910 (Fujikura speeder 7.0 xx) so the feel is pretty much the same. My numbers with the new driver are great and I have picked up a few mph of ball speed. It's just as exciting for us to get new product as it is the general public.

I will be playing this week in West Virginia and then have next week off for my 2nd annual charity golf tournament.  Last year we raised over $300,000 towards the cost of a new hospital in my hometown of Weyburn, SK. This year it would be great to crack the $500,000 dollar mark. I'm always excited about going home and seeing not only old friends and family, but also how much the game of golf has grown in Weyburn over the past 10 years. Most particularly, junior golf.  I'm so proud to lend my name to a great event for such a great cause. 

See you at the Canadian Open!

The U.S. Women's Open is officially under way at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin, where players and prognosticators are expecting a trying 72-hole week for the world's best, especially on Blackwolf Run's quick, undulating greens.

Team Titleist caught up with Pro V1x players Brittany Lang, Shanshan Feng and defending U.S. Women's Open champ So Yeon Ryu to see how they were preparing for the year's third major, which you can watch in the above video.

The consensus key to victory? Short-game success.

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