Bubba Ball 2017: Watson switches to Volvik golf ball

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Well, it’s official. Bubba Watson, the 10th-ranked player in the world, will play a Volvik golf ball in 2017. He’ll start at this week’s SBS Championship at Kapalua.

Watson, 38, who counts two Masters titles among his nine PGA Tour victories, will start out with Volvik’s model called the White Color S4, which he says is known as “Blue Pearl” here in the United States, and he will wear the company’s logo on his sleeve. Watson was wearing one of his new shirts at Kapalua on Monday.

Watson showed off his new ball, which at first glance appears white and has the words “White Color” in script across the ball. As he turned the ball in the radiant light, it showed tinges of blue color across the dimples. He previously played a Titleist Pro V1x.

He likes that a colored ball gives him something of “a fun factor” in a game that he believes needs to grow. In a perfect world, Watson said he’d like to play a lime green ball, but there is not an S4 model in that color approved yet by the U.S. Golf Association. On Monday, he was given five dozen new pink balls that recently were added to the USGA conforming list.

“Right now, I have five dozen (pink) and five dozen of the Blue Pearl,” he said. “I’ll probably just rotate. It’s more fun to rotate. White ball one day, pink ball, and then if I get the lime one (when it gets approved), rotate that into the rounds each week.”

Interestingly, Watson said the Rules of Golf would prohibit him from playing a pink ball on one hole and a different color ball on the next, even if the two balls were the same model. So for now, he’ll have to settle for different colors on different days.

“I don’t know what the reasoning is,” he said, “but that’s what the USGA says.”

Watson said he got the idea to play a Volvik ball when he was home in October watching the World Long Drive Championships in Thackerville, Okla. He called his longtime caddie, Ted Scott, and the two giggled about the idea of a colored golf ball. Watson got on the Internet and researched the company, got some balls to test, as did Scott, and he was on his way (Watson said he tested several brands).

“Ping (the company whose clubs Watson plays) used to have the two-toned ball. I said, ‘Is there any way to make a swirl, like a pink-or-white swirl, or a camo finish?’ ” Watson asked. “If we’re going to challenge ourselves, let’s challenge ourselves to make something that’s really off the wall that’s still playable. Companies I want to be with are ones that let me have an influence and let me in on the decision-making.”

Watson perennially ranks among the longest hitters in the game, ranking fourth in driving distance last season (310.6 yards). He has led the Tour in driving distance five times (the last in 2014) and has ranked second in distance four other times.

Watson’s move to Volvik means five companies are represented among the top 10 players in the world. With Rory McIlroy expected to return to Titleist when he competes in South Africa this month, Titleist will have four of the top 10 (two playing Pro V1, two playing Pro V1x). Also represented are TaylorMade (two), Callaway (two), Srixon (one) and now Volvik.

Watson wanted to clarify one minor detail Monday: Technically, he said, he has played a colored golf ball his entire career.

“Everybody has,” he said. “White, that’s a color. They (golf balls) don’t start white. Companies have to make them white.”

Posted: Wed 04 Jan 2017