Team Titleist caught up with Robert Streb on Monday while he was making the 17-hour drive from Sea Island, Ga. to his home in Kansas City with his wife and two children. A day earlier, Streb won his second career PGA TOUR title, his first coming six years earlier, also at the RSM [McGladrey] Classic.
Streb, who has been a Titleist Brand Ambassador his entire professional career, plays the Pro V1 golf ball and Titleist golf clubs from tee-through-green. In fact, he was the first player to win playing the New TSi driver, which just became available in retail this month. Enjoy our Quick 9 with Robert Streb:
TEAM TITLEIST: Congratulations on your second RSM Classic win. What was your approach going into this week? Did you have any feeling of how you would play?
Robert Streb: I felt like my game had been getting a little more consistent, but I didn't have a whole lot of results to show for it. I was playing well but having trouble scoring. It was kind of a two-day road trip [from his home in Kansas City] with the whole family to get there last week. We tried to arrive early enough so I could get some practice in on the golf course since the weather in Kansas City is starting to turn a little bit. It's always nice going to Sea Island, but I can’t say I had the feeling like ‘I'm going to do great this week.’ I got off to a pretty quick start and kind of held it together over the weekend.
TT: You won there in 2014. What is it about the course that fits your eye?
RS: It might be that there's just enough space off the tee for me. I'm not necessarily the straightest driver in the world and the layout allows us to play different shots into the green. It's incredibly wind dependent on that Seaside course. They’ve also moved the event to later in the year, so the greens don't tend to dry out quite as much, but still roll incredibly well. You could tell by the scores that some of the guys got after it.
TT: When you get fit for clubs, how much do you rely on sight and feel versus TrackMan numbers?
RS: First, I have to like the way a club looks, feels and performs and then I’ll confirm what I am seeing. I try not to get into the numbers very much, but I’ll make sure the launch is good, the spin is good, the curve, all that fun stuff. I let the Titleist guys decipher it for me. It’s a good tool to figure out what the ball and club combination is actually doing, but nothing beats practicing with it on the course and then teeing it up under the gun to make sure it performs.
TT: With that in mind, you were the first to win with the New TSi driver. What was the process of getting that in the bag?
RS: It was actually pretty easy for me to make the switch the first week it came out in Napa (Safeway Open). As a guy that hooks the golf ball as his miss, the New TSi2 helped me with that from the first time I hit it. It sets up well and I love the appearance when I look down at the face. I never feel like I have trouble with the face closing down on me. And the appearance and shaping was really good when I first saw it. I hit about five balls with it on the range and told the Titleist guys, "I want to give this a run." Then I hit a few more, and the more I progressed the better it performed and I finally just said, "We'll just take this one and run with it."
TT: What were your emotions when it went from not looking so good on the first playoff hole to winning on the second?
RS: Well, to be honest, my first thought after the last putt dropped was I was surprised I got it done. It wasn't looking very good there for a little bit, and I kind of felt like I got out of jail on that first playoff hole. My fairway bunker play is not exactly stellar, and I kept looking at where my ball was, trying to figure what I needed to get up quickly and cover the pond. The 8-iron was the best I was going to do to get over that lip and still get over the pond in front of the green. It was a bit of an all or nothing shot. I needed to hit it about 160 yards. I honestly hit it as good as I could, and it went in the best spot I could have hoped. And then on the chip, I hit it the way I wanted but then I saw where it landed, and was like, "Oh, oh, that better hustle." I just didn't carry it as far as I wanted, but at least it was under the hole and I ended up making the putt which was really nice.
On the second playoff hole, the ball rolled into the rough a little bit on the drive and it looked like we had a flier lie from about 150 yards out. At this point we are trying to determine ‘Is this one going to fly or is it not?" You don't always get it right, but we were pretty certain it would this time. So we went down one club to a pitching wedge [46° Vokey]. We were just hoping we guessed right and it came out great, landed soft, and kind of did everything we were hoping. We knew it was close, but not that close. That was a relief when we got up there and saw it was a tap-in.
TT: Is it true you only played four golf balls all week? And that you match the play number with the round?
RS: That is right. I think I played one ball in each round. I guess I was a little fickle this week. When they are going good, I don’t really take them out. And they were going kind of good. I'll even play with a couple of nicks on them if they're going pretty good. If not, then I'll swap them out. As far as the numbers go, that’s also true. I play 1’s on Thursdays, 2’s on Fridays, and 3’s and 4’s on the weekend. I can’t recall when I started doing that, but it always makes it easier knowing what number your playing that day. And I mark them with a purple Sharpie for my alma mater Kansas State.
TT: Speaking of golf balls, you won playing the current 2019 Pro V1. Have you tested the new 2021 Pro V1 or Pro V1x yet, and how do you go about deciding when to switch models?
RS: I really haven’t tested the new balls yet, but plan to give them a try during my time off over the next month. I was in a pretty decent place with the Pro V1 I’m currently playing when the new models were introduced to us at Shriners. Like a lot of guys, I was trying to get through the fall with what I am comfortable with and then get into some testing. The Titleist guys sent some to my home and I will put them through some drills and see how they stack up against my current Pro V1. I’ve been playing the Pro V1 for a long time and usually switch into the new models shortly after they come out. I start in the short game area and work on my scoring shots. I've been told the new Pro V1 has a little more spin into and around the green, so I'm kind of curious to see if I see that for myself. That's always kind of a helpful thing if you can just get that little bit of extra spin sometimes on those short shots.
TT: How does this win change your outlook and schedule for the rest of the season?
RS: Well, it will definitely change because I can now pick and choose where and when I play. I'm not at the mercy of all the other guys, waiting until the Friday before an event to see if I’m in or not. I know I’m going to Hawaii for the first two weeks, so that’s very cool to get back to Maui. And then I get into most of those bigger events that everybody wants to play in. So that part is awesome. We will sit down and go over everything at some point soon, but it’s all still pretty fresh right now.
TT: We’ve been asked a lot about your putter – a Scotty Cameron GoLo Knucklehead model. What can you share about that?
RS: Well, I can tell you I’ve had for a while now, and probably will for a while more. Seriously though, I usually find one and stick with it for a while. For a long time, I had a Laguna 2.5 that I had taken from my dad years ago. I think I used that putter for six or seven years. I got the Knucklehead part way through my rookie year on tour. I had a silver version of it. I did go through a little spat with it for a period where I tried a few others, but I've mostly had that Knucklehead for quite a while now. I like the look of the smaller mallet with this hosel. This is basically the same putter I won with in 2014, but this one is just a black version of it.