Is Ernie on verge of equipment switch?

Big Easy flirting with new balls


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Ernie has been testing new balls

CALLAWAY staff player Ernie Els was spotted playing the TaylorMade Lethal ball at the CIMB Classic last week.

The 44-year-old South African has teed up with the Callaway HEX Black Tour for the past few years but is now sampling the premium 5-layer TaylorMade ball.

Although the four-time major champion plays a full bag of Callaway and Odyssey clubs, as he has done since signing with Callaway in 2007, he's clearly not been happy with his choice of ball having sampled the Titleist Pro V1x at the Venetian Macau Open shortly after the Presidents Cup.

Els has also installed UST Mamiya Prototype 125 F5 (X-Flex) graphite iron shafts into his Callaway X Utilities and RAZR X MB irons.

As we've seen from Rory McIlroy's early season struggles once switching from Titleist to Nike, the ball plays a significant role when switching brands because it's the one piece of equipment used on every shot. Getting used to the feel of new dimples, for a top Touring professional at least, is a tricky transition to make.

Does Els’ recent use of a Titleist and TaylorMade golf ball, as well as move to UST’s Mamiya Recoil graphite iron shafts, suggest he's looking for a new equipment sponsor for 2014?

Who knows, but the new ball certainly fuels speculation of an equipment switch back to TaylorMade where he enjoyed tremendous success in the late 90s and turn of the millenium.

What's in Els' bag

Driver: Callaway FT Optiforce (9.5-degree; Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 7.2X Tour Spec)
3 Wood: Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme (15-degree; Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X Tour Spec)
5 Wood: Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme (18-degree; Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X Tour Spec)
Utilities: Callaway X Utility Proto Iron (21-and 24-degree; UST Mamiya Prototype 125 F5 X-Flex graphite)
Irons: Callaway RAZR X MB (5-PW; UST Mamiya Prototype 125 F5 X-Flex graphite)
Wedges: Callaway Jaws (52- and 60-degree; KBS Tour X-Flex)
Putter: Odyssey Tank #7 with Versa Technology
Ball: TaylorMade Lethal

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Which is the worst major meltdown?
Jean Van de Velde - 1999 Open (73%)
Rory McIlroy - 2011 Masters (5%)
Adam Scott - 2012 Open (0%)
Jordan Spieth - 2016 Masters (10%)
Greg Norman - 1996 Masters (11%)
Arnold Palmer - 1966 US Open (0%)