Nothing succeeds like success. That old proverb is no more apt than in the copycat world of professional golf where a tournament win with new equipment can spawn a clamor to local golf shops within the week.
No wonder Bob Parsons, the billionaire founder of the internet company GoDaddy, was getting a wee bit antsy after launching Parsons Xtreme Golf, PXG, earlier this year, featuring a lineup of technology-honed clubs that retail for upwards of $5,000 a set. PXG signed a stable of Tour pros for his professional staff – Zach Johnson, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Ryan Moore, James Hahn and Charles Howell III on the PGA Tour; Rocco Mediate on the Senior Tour, and Cristie Kerr, Gerina Piller, Alison Lee, Beatriz Recari and Sadena Parks on the LPGA tour – and turned them loose.
While Parsons’ plunge into the golf business has generated some of the buzziest buzz in equipment circles, the biggest names on Team PXG – reigning Open Champion Zach Johnson and 2014 FedEx champion Billy Horschel – have recorded only six Top Tens between them, and have yet to see serious action in 2016 as each languishes out of the Top 50 in FedEx points. The best former Women’s U.S. Open champion, Kerr, has been able to manage thus far in this year’s campaign, is a tie for tenth.
The First Win for PXG from the Playoff King
The PXG breakthrough came from an unlikely source. James Hahn had missed eight consecutive cuts before arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. But the one-time shoe salesman fired a nine-under par 279 to tie with Robert Castro. Then after Castro drove into a creek and hit his approach into a spectator’s shoe during the playoff, Hahn methodically finished out his par and collected his second PGA title.
Despite possessing one of golf’s prettiest swings, the South Korean-born Hahn didn’t start playing the PGA Tour full-time until 2013 when he was 32 years old. He won for the first time last year at the Northern Trust Open in a three-way playoff. His only win on the Web.com Tour also required extra holes, as did his first win on the Canadian Tour.
The Impact of PXG Clubs
Cynics were quick to point out that Hahn’s Odyssey Works 2-Ball putter was probably more responsible for his win at Quail Hollow Club than his PXG clubs. After all, a cross-country eagle putt on the 7th hole on Sunday that vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard, had as much to do with his victory as any shot. While the trophy does often go to the hottest putter on any given week, Hahn was quick to point out that he changed the grind on the PXG 0311T irons to provide more bounce and playability and he switched out the shafts on his 4-9 irons to True Temper Project X LZ 6.5 shafts. For one week, at least, the formula worked.
Parsons was quick to trumpet his company’s achievement. “We have every confidence in our equipment and in our players,” he said. “Seeing the two come together in tournament play is a sweet thing indeed. I couldn’t be more proud of the many successes our PXG Troops have seen this year, but this week James Hahn was the man!”
Hahn’s win indeed came at a precipitous time, on the eve of the Player’s Championship. Fast on its heels will be the summer majors, Olympics golf and the Ryder Cup.