FedEx Cup winner Vijay Singh played space-aged shafts (but they didn't save his arm)
Way back on Sept. 28, 2004, I wrote the following about Element 21 (e21) Scandium shafts, after returning form the Fall PGA Expo in Las Vegas:
“… one of the most intriguing ‘revolutionary’ products was the Eagle One Pro Lite shaft by E21Golf (E21golf.com). What sets these apart, according E21’s Pete A’costa, is the use of Scandium, the 21st element in the periodic table. A’costa says the shafts are the lightest and longest metal shafts in the solar system. And I’ll admit, they did feel solid.”
With the close of the “thrilling” 2008 FedEx Cup race, it has been made public that Vijay Singh, winner of the Still-never-been-kissed Cup, was playing the e21 shafts in his irons. Here’s a snippet from the Canadian company’s Sept. 27 press release, in which Singh isn’t named, as the use of the e21 shafts is not an official endorsement:
“This player switched to the Scandium shafts in the summer of 2007 and has been using scandium shafts on an UNENDORSED basis since then.
“In a recent interview, the player attributed his wins to the accuracy of his irons, that have been shafted with Scandium shafts for over a year. This player has a reputation of being the hardest working professional golfer, hitting thousands of golf balls on the practice range daily and playing in numerous events worldwide each year. Following his switch to the Scandium shafts, he was quoted as saying that he experienced less vibration – and, therefore, less strain – in his elbows when he hits the Scandium shafts. He has suffered from an ongoing elbow injury, so the Scandium shafts, with vibration dampening ‘ShockBlok™’ technology, help keep that from flaring up.”
What is interesting here is that three days after the e21 press release (9-30-08), The U.K. newspaper The Mirror reported that Singh would be out for at least two months with a left elbow injury:
“World number three Vijay Singh is expected to be sidelined for at least two months because of an arm injury.
“Tendinitis in the Fijian’s left forearm has ruled him out of the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia from October 30-November 2 and the Champions Tournament in Shanghai from November 6-9.
“‘I am very disappointed to miss the Iskandar Johor Open and the HSBC event as I was looking forward to returning to Asia,’ the 45-year-old Singh said in a news release issued by the Asian Tour….”
My question, I guess, is doubled-edged: Did the e21 shafts protect Singh’s balky left elbow long enough for him to lock up the $10 FedEx Cup, or did they not protect him as much as they supposedly should have?
Getting an answer to this question will be tough, though, as players rarely discuss unendorsed equipment with the press (especially not tight-lipped Singh), and companies likewise keep mum about their unofficial player relationships when something bad happens.
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"Scandium Sc Metal Shafts are manufactured using a proprietary 25-step production process to create a seamless, extruded shaft. Variable wall thickness and the alloy's high tensile strength results in a vibration dampening system called ShockBlok with 270% better shock attenuation than steel shafts that protects golfers' bodies, bones and joints."
The company's claim is that they protect golfer's bodies. And I simply asked, did they protect Singh long enough for him to win the FedEx Cup, or did they not? And I suggest it would ultimately hard to decide.
I would simply ask, what is the point in asking the question? I would also suggest there is no decision to be made on the matter. Unless Mr Christianson would like to take the time and trouble to ask VJ. Or perhaps he should just wait and see if he continues to use the shafts upon his return to the Tour?
Chip N APutt is right, though: The only way to find out is to ask Vijay, as I also suggested, or to wait and see if he still uses them. I actually like e21's shafts very much--my limited experience with them has been good. But again, a company cannot say, "We helped the guy win the FedEx Cup" when the guy wins, but ignore an injury when they simultaneously say, "Our shafts protect golfers' bodies."