Last week at the Omega European Masters, Tommy Fleetwood contended early in the week with an Odyssey DFX 2-Ball Blade putter that his caddie purchased for £90 (about $108) off eBay in January, eventually finishing in the top 10. Tour players using clubs they purchased is a rarity. After all, tour players are a pampered bunch with tour reps waiting at nearly every tournament to cater to their equipment needs. Still, players using clubs they bought with their own cash is a fascinating list.
Here are seven instances of tour pros paying for their sticks or golf balls.
Perhaps the most famous instance is Jim Furyk, who visited Joe & Leigh’s Discount Golf Shop at Pine Oaks Golf Club in South Easton, Mass., prior to the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. Furyk bought a used Yes! Sophia putter from a rack of used clubs for just $39. Furyk used the putter and went on to win the Tour Championship and the $10-million FedEx Cup.
Perhaps such success is why in 2013 Furyk went shopping again, visiting a local Edwin Watts store in Orlando during the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he purchased an Odyssey Versa putter.
K.J. Choi also had success with purchased clubs, in his case a set of irons. On Monday of the Memorial Tournament in 2013, employees at Golf Galaxy in Dublin, Ohio (about six minutes from Muirfield Village Golf Club), had a surprise customer in the eight-time PGA Tour winner. The Memorial is one of the few events not to allow tour vans on site, leaving Choi no other option. Choi brought his Miura 7-iron with him as a baseline for swingweight, tried Mizuno’s MP-59 and MP-64 models as well as Titleist’s CB irons, eventually settling on the MP-64s. For the week, Choi finished T-21, ranking 33rd in greens in regulation. That was good enough to win $58,202.50. The cash came in handy as Choi did not get a break on the price. “Well, he didn’t want the 3-iron so we did prorate the price to seven clubs,” said store manager Jay Chiles. Tyrrell Hatton also did the same at the 2018 Northern Trust, buying a fresh Ping Sigma from a nearby Golf Galaxy before the final round to shoot a 64 and finish T-5, qualifying for Boston.
Prior to the first round of the 2003 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Pat Perez discovered he had left all eight dozen of his Nike TA2 golf balls in his car. With the vehicle too far away to retrieve the balls before his tee time, Perez dispatched his caddie to the pro shop where he bought three sleeves of Nike’s DD balls (the TA2 was not available at retail yet). The purchase set Perez back $57, but hey, they did have the Pebble Beach logo on them. Perez shot 69, using just one sleeve. Asked what he did with the other two, Perez said matter-of-factly, “We returned them.”
Perez, however, isn’t the only PGA Tour player who found himself a few sleeves short. Lee Janzen, for example, arrived at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., for the 2002 Franklin Templeton Shootout, only to find his locker devoid of golf balls. Unfazed, the two-time U.S. Open champion went to the pro shop, whipped out his credit card and purchased a dozen Titleist Pro V1s to get him through the event. It was a sound purchase, as Janzen and his partner, Rocco Mediate, won by a stroke.
Even some players on the senior circuit part with their cash for clubs. At the end of the 2003 season, Champions Tour player Tom Jenkins couldn’t find any of his favorite wedges—the Cleveland 691 “U stamp” models in 55- and 58-degree lofts. So Jenkins did what any savvy consumer would do: He went online. “I did an eBay search and [still] couldn’t find any,” Jenkins said. “But I went back a week later, and there they were.” Buying from several sellers at about $15 each, Jenkins stocked up, buying eight of the 58-degree wedges and five of the 55-degree models.
After opening the 2003 Charles Schwab Championship at Sonoma (Calif.) Golf Club with rounds of 74, 69 and 72, Doug Tewell was in the market for a new flat stick. “I was putting so bad I went in the pro shop after the third round and bought an Odyssey Tri-Hot putter,” Tewell said. “It was a good $75 investment because I went out the next day and shot 65.” Good investment indeed. Tewell’s hot final round jumped him to a T-16 finish and he earned a $47,500 payday.