Last season, Golf Digest asked 66 PGA Tour players this question: Who is the best athlete on tour?

The majority chose Titleist Brand Ambassador Gary Woodland, also considered by many to be the longest hitter on tour.

Newsflash: As the result of changes in swing mechanics and equipment, including a move from the Titleist Pro V1 to Pro V1x golf ball, Gary's gotten even longer.

Late in 2011, Gary began working on his swing with Butch Harmon, a key member of the Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff. One thing Butch emphasized during their sessions was the importance of Gary using his skill and athleticism to shape shots.

“We’re getting him to move the ball around, change his trajectory a little, change the setup and the path of his swing and get more of a variety of shots, which he needs to have," Harmon told the Associated Press last week.

As a result, a few equipment tweaks and changes followed.

 Gary adjusted the SureFit Tour hosel setting on his Titleist 910 7.5º driver from C•1 (6.75º loft, 57.75º lie) to A•1 (standard; 7.5º loft, 58.5º lie), adding roughly one degree of effective loft. He made the same change to his Titleist 910Fd 13.5º fairway metal (C•1 to A•1).

After a testing session with Fordie Pitts of Titleist Golf Ball R&D on the range early last week at TPC Scottsdale, Gary also switched golf ball models from Pro V1 to Pro V1x.

Gary initially sought out Fordie having noticed an increase of spin off of his irons.

He wanted to make sure he was playing the best Titleist golf ball for his new swing.

On Monday, Fordie had Gary test the lower-spin Pro V1x in front of a TrackMan launch monitor. With Gary's short and mid irons, the data showed a reduction of about 150-200 rpm in spin as well as a slight increase (1-1.5 mph) in ball speed. With his driver, Gary's ball speed increased about 4 mph with very similar spin (2,593 rpm).

Gary was pleased with the numbers, and took the Pro V1x out on the course for more testing.

Off the irons, the Pro V1x launched a little higher and longer (3 to 7 yards), hitting and stopping faster on the greens and giving him the control he needed on his scoring shots. He had the same confidence around the greens, as well.

Off the driver, his carry yardage increased about 14 yards, to the point where the other players in his practice round group couldn't help but laugh and shake their heads. (These are extremely rare numbers, to be sure.)

On Thursday, Gary walked to the first tee with a Pro V1x in his pocket, confident he was playing the ball that best suited his game.

He would go to finish T-4 for the week in Greens in Regulation (76.4 percent), closing out the tournament with a 5-under 66 Sunday at TPC Scottsdale.

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On one of the biggest sports days of the year, Titleist Brand Ambassador Kyle Stanley charged to a victory more than worthy of Super Bowl-sized acclaim.

One week after finishing runner-up in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open, Stanley, 24, came from eight shots back Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to earn his first PGA Tour victory, authoring a story of perseverance that golf won't soon forget.

 "I just tried to focus on playing golf," said Stanley, who combined with Titleist Brand Ambassador Kieran Pratt and Pro V1x loyalist Paul Lawrie to sweep the three events played last weekend across the worldwide professional tours.

"I knew I was playing well coming into this week," Stanley said. "I think the biggest challenge was seeing if I could put last week behind me. I think I did."

Trusting a Pro V1x golf ball and bag full of Titleist equipment, including a new set of Titleist MB (712 Series) irons, Stanley closed with a bogey-free 6-under 65 for a 15-under 269 total and one-shot victory, leading a 1-through-7 finish for Titleist golf ball players.

 Fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Crane (Pro V1x) finished runner-up after a final-round 5-under 66. He was followed by Spencer Levin (3rd, Pro V1x) and Titleist Brand Ambassadors D.J. Trahan (4th, Pro V1x), Brendan Steele (5th, Pro V1x) and Kevin Na (5th, Pro V1x), and Pro V1x loyalist Bubba Watson (5th).

A total of 92 players in the field at TPC Scottsdale relied Titleist golf balls for their success, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all competitors combined. Titleist was also first in irons sets (39); sand, lob and approach wedges (128); and putters (59).

Stanley's victory in the desert was highlighted by both power and precision, not to mention some grit and determination.

At the par-5 13th, Stanley ripped a 376-yard tee shot with his 910 driver and hit his Titleist MB 9-iron to 20 feet to set up an eventual two-putt birdie. On the par-4 14th, he drove his Pro V1x golf ball 325 yards down the middle of the fairway, pitched to 12 feet and rolled in the birdie putt with his Scotty Cameron Timeless GSS.

On the par-4 17th, Stanley used his Vokey Design Spin Milled 56•14º wedge to hit a highlight-reel recovery shot from beneath a cactus (see video below), and two-putted for par. Stanley, who hit 89 percent of his greens in regulation Sunday, sent his approach shot on the par-4 18th to 12 feet above the hole. He two-putted for the one-shot victory.

"You know… this week I just kind of tried to just let it happen, not think about it, and just focus on things that I could control," said Stanley.

Two weeks ago, Stanley paid a visit to the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., a short drive from Torrey Pines and the Farmers Insurance Open. There, he worked with Dr. Greg Rose on his alignment, getting himself squared up from what had become an open stance.

As a result of the realignment, Stanley lost some backspin with his Titleist 910D3 7.5º driver. Enter: Senior Club Fitting Analyst Dino Antenucci, who changed Stanley's driver head from 7.5º to 8.5º, keeping the SureFit Tour hosel in the A•1 position (standard loft, standard lie).

Immediately, Stanley had a better ball flight, more shot-shaping control and about 2,400 rpm of backspin.

Of course, the results speak for themselves.

Here's a closer look at Kyle Stanley's Titleist equipment:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5º (Mitsubishi Diamana Kaili 70X)
3-wood: Titleist 910Fd 13.5º (Mitsubishi Fubuki 83X)
Hybrid: Titleist 503i 2-iron (Project X 6.5)
Irons: ; Titleist MB (712 Series) 4-P (Project X 6.5)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 52•08º, 56•14º, SM4 60•10º (Dynamic Gold S-400)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless (GSS)

• EUROPEAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Paul Lawrie's final-round 7-under 65 earned him a convincing four-shot victory at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters.

Lawrie, whose bogey-free final 18 holes included five birdies and one eagle, finished with a 15-under 201 total in the weather-shortened 54-hole event.

"I don't think I can play much better than that," said Lawrie, who moved back into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking. "I've been playing well for a long, long time, but it's just nice to come out one ahead and shoot 7 under."

Titleist was the No. 1 golf ball of choice at the Qatar Masters with 74, more than three times the nearest competitor with 21 and more than all other golf ball combined. Titleist was also first in iron sets (33); and sand, lob and approach wedges (134).

• ASIAN TOUR: It was a 1-2 -3 finish for Titleist Brand Ambassadors at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open, as Kieran Pratt (Pro V1x) birdied the second hole of a playoff to edge Adam Blyth and Kiradech Aphibarnrat to capture his first Asian Tour title.

Pratt, who was five-shots off the lead after Round 3, closed with a 4-under 68 highlighted by an eagle-3 on the 18th hole to get into the playoff.

“Fantastic. It feels great to win the first event of the year," said Pratt, who finished regulation tied with Blyth and Aphibarnra at 15-under 273.

"Obviously you want to get off to a fast start but to win is obviously better."

Pratt was one of 80 players in the field that teed up a Titleist golf ball, more than twice the nearest competitor with 36, including seven of the top 10 on the final leader board.

Already a month old, the 2012 PGA Tour rolls this week into TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. (Pssst... Only 10 weeks until The Masters.)

 As always, a popular topic of conversation is TPC Scottsdale's par-3 16th, the only hole on the PGA Tour completely enclosed by grandstands (and boisterous fans).

Every time a golf ball launches from the 16th tee, the roars are deafening. Most of that noise will be made with Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls in the air.

A total of 92 Titleist golf ball players are teeing it up this week in Arizona, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all competitors combined. Titleist is also No. 1 in iron sets (39); sand, lob and approach wedges (128); and putters (59).

Photographer Greg Moore, a loyal Team Titleist member, was on the ground at TPC Scottsdale earlier this week and sent along some pictures to share. Check them out in the slideshow below. Thanks, Greg!


 Titleist Brand Ambassador Rory McIlroy received a package recently from Master Craftsman Bob Vokey. It was delivered in a long, cardboard box marked with the Titleist Script, standard of all Titleist club deliveries.

Who knew it was filled with gold?

When Rory opened the box, he found three Vokey Design Spin Milled Wedges with a gold-plated finish and custom stamping, a present from The Voke to commemorate Rory's historic, eight-shot victory at the 2011 U.S. Open Congressional.

The specs: 248•10º (bent to 46º), SM54•10º, and 60º•L, the same ones that helped him break eight U.S. Open scoring records.

Our friends over at Team Titleist UK & Ireland were able get a sneak peek of Rory's wedges before they were sent on to Rory, and managed to snap a few pictures to share with Team Titleist. Check out the pics in the slideshow below.