Washington - Sweden's Henrik Stenson is testing new 3-woods ahead of the US PGA Houston Open after bidding goodbye to a beloved club he used for nine years with great success.
Stenson makes his 2019-20 US season debut at the Golf Club of Houston, where he has twice been a runner-up, and after six top-20 finishes in his past seven worldwide starts.
It was on the eve of last month's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth when Stenson found the face of the well-used club had caved in and so swapped for a new one.
Stenson, 43, often used the older model off the tee because he could get distance, using the club so much he was forced to go to backup models in 2016 and 2017. But now it's into retirement for the model.
"It's always sad when one of the trusties has to retire," Stenson told the PGA Tour's website.
"I knew long before I gave up on it that the new technology was better and more efficient. When the other one broke in 2017, in February, I was out at a tournament in Dubai and I had to put (a new fairway club) in. That thing that I put in for that week was much hotter."
A familiar feel had long meant more to Stenson than any benefits from newer technology.
"If you're standing there on the 72nd hole and you've got to hit a shot to position yourself to win the tournament, you don't want to have something you picked up two days ago," Stenson said. "You want to have something you hit 5,000 shots with."
The old-style 3-wood was used by Stenson to win the 2016 British Open, the 2013 US PGA Tour playoff crown, a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and to reach as high as second in the world rankings.
Stenson, seeking his first win since 2017 in Greensboro, will play the first two rounds alongside Americans Jason Dufner, a PGA Championship winner whose last victory came at the 2017 memorial, and Cameron Champ, who won the Safeway Open two weeks ago.