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It’s October 2000 and the PGA Tour is headed for Las Vegas where the Invensys Classic – better known these days as the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – is set to take place.

It’s a prestigious event, having take place under various guises in
‘Sin City’ every year since 1983 and counting the likes of Greg Norman,
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk amongst its list of former champions.

Indeed, this particular week, much of the talk was focused around
whether or not Furyk could win the title for a third straight year and a
fourth time in total.

By the end of it, the narrative had shifted course dramatically.
Suddenly, it wasn’t the players that were the centre of attention but
the equipment they were using – and one piece of equipment in

READ MORE -> Titleist Pro V1 & Pro V1x upgraded for 2017

Titleist Original Packaging

The Titleist Pro V1 had recently been added to the
Fall 2000 Edition of the USGA’s Conforming Golf Ball List and Las Vegas
was the first event in which tour players could use it in competition.

The ball was widely considered to be a dramatic departure for
Titleist, which had traditionally used a wound-ball construction with a
liquid filled core centre for its premium balls.

With the Titleist Pro V1, players had a ball which delivered huge distance gains as well as a supremely high level of performance around the green.

Titleist Ball Pyramid

A total of 47 players (around half of all Titleist players in the
field) switched to the much-anticipated new ball in Las Vegas – the
single biggest shift in equipment usage ever seen at a PGA Tour event.
Bill Morgan, the Senior Vice President for Titleist Golf Ball R&D,
was there eek to introduce the new ball to players.

“While we expected early adoption, we weren’t certain what the ball
count would be, because players only had a day or two of practice
rounds,” he said. “We heard from players, that for the very first time,
they didn’t sacrifice anything in a golf ball,” added Morgan.

The Titleist Pro V1 had a durable cover that wouldn’t cut or shear the way the traditional balata-covered balls did

Billy Andrade

In the end, the tournament was won by one of the 47 Titleist Pro V1 adopters, Billy Andrade, above.
It was the fourth PGA Tour win of the American’s career – a win he
largely credits to the confidence he found from the new ball in his bag.

“I remember I was not having a very good year entering that event,”
said Andrade. “I think I was around 160th on the money list and there
were only a few events left. I was desperate. I vividly remember the
first time I put it into play during a practice round. The ball was 20
yards longer than the Tour Prestige that I was playing at the time. I
chalked some of it up to altitude but the distance, in addition to the
overall performance of the ball, was like nothing I had ever played.”

By the following March, Titleist had become the best selling ball in the marketplace – a position it has held every month since.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Justin Thomas2

Entering the 2015/16 season, the Titleist Pro V1
franchise accounted for 2,374 worldwide wins and over 304,000 players
across the worldwide professional tours. It is also reckoned that two
out of every three golfers across the major worldwide professional tours
play either the Pro V1 or Pro V1x. That’s more than five times its
nearest competitor.

In 2016, Titleist players recorded 189 wins around the world – again,
comfortably eclipsing its nearest competitor – whilst 2017 got off to a
fantastic start, courtesy of back-to-back victories for Justin Thomas, pictured above, in Hawaii.

Indeed, there can be no doubt that, as it releases the 2017 versions
of its game-changing balls, Titleist remains at the forefront of golf
ball innovation and technology – something that surely nobody could have
known as the tour made its way to Vegas just over 16 years ago.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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