Credit to Golf.com‘s Jonathan Wall for being the first to spot what appears to be new Wilson Prototype blades in Gary Woodland’s bag in the Bahamas.
— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) November 27, 2018
A few hours later, Wilson Staff tour pro Brendan Steele posted a Tweet of his own on the new irons, noting that he was part of the design team. The cat is officially out of the bag.
So new blades and Gary Woodland? What in the name of Gene Sarazen is going on here?
Wilson’s current blade, the FG Tour 100, was released in 2014 as part of Wilson Staff’s 100th anniversary as a golf brand. This new prototype features a few similarities to the Tour 100, including the same bore-through hosel, but the muscle back is a little simpler looking and it appears to be more toe-weighted. We’ve reached out to Wilson for more information, and the company confirms they’ve been waiting for a chance to test the new prototypes with its Tour staff, specifically Brendan Steele.
It’s shaping up to be a busy fall for Wilson Staff. We’ve been through Driver vs. Driver, and the introduction of Cortex, and a replacement for the two-year-old D300 irons and metalwoods is due by January. Wilson’s FG Tour V6 irons are also two years old, and considering Wilson’s two-year product cycle, MyGolfSpy’s 2017 Most Wanted Player’s Iron is also due for an upgrade.
The other part of the story, however, is what’s up with Gary Woodland?
Partial Free Agent
According to Wall’s article, Woodland is an equipment free-agent, sort of. After leaving Callaway at the end of 2015, he signed a metal-woods only deal with TaylorMade and has been using Titleist irons and wedges without a deal. Woodland will apparently be gaming the new Wilson blades, as well as a Wilson FG Tour V4 utility iron, at this week’s Hero World Challenge.
For its part, Wilson says Woodland expressed some interest in a new blade, and the company was happy to supply him with product – as they would for any Tour player – for personal testing and evaluation. The fact Woodland is putting the irons in play this week in the Bahamas indicates a level of interest a few steps beyond “personal testing.”
The three-time PGA tour winner is currently 32nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, and it remains to be seen if this week represents an equipment trial on his part or a prelude to a new equipment deal with Wilson Staff. If that were to happen, Woodland would be Wilson’s highest ranking Tour pro. Brendan Steele, Kevin Streelman and Padraig Harrington are currently ranked 103rd, 176th, and 187th respectively.