LAS VEGAS – The PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas always brings back happy memories for Titleist, which had a game-changing moment 15 years ago.
After a year of what it called the "100 Man March" – getting 100 PGA Tour players to test its new golf ball – the company launched the Pro V1 at what then was called the Invensys Classic. More than Billy Andrade winning with the new product and avoiding a return to Q-School, 47 players switched to the solid construction golf ball that week.
Titleist chief Wally Uihlein said at the time he had never seen a greater pluralistic shift in equipment on the PGA Tour. And it led to another rare occurrence – Titleist led the field in both solid balls (47) and wound balls (41).
At that point, Tiger Woods already had switched to a solid ball made by Nike (May 2000) and Mark O'Meara had won two majors in 1998 using the Strata.
Two other anecdotes reflect on the Pro V1 buzz.
The following week at the Presidents Cup, a couple of media members were so curious about all the talk that they asked a Titleist representative if there was any they could try. The official finally relented. He brought over a white box of a dozen balls. Then, he removed a sleeve of balls from the box. Lastly, he opened the sleeve and dropped one ball into this hand.
The next year at Riviera, club officials began keeping an eye on volunteers who were helping to retrieve balls from the range. Turns out after one day, there was a vast shortage in Pro V1 range balls.
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