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Fort Worth, Texas — It's Tuesday afternoon and TaylorMade's Tour Van is humming. The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial won't start for another couple of days, but for TaylorMade's two full-time club technicians, Wade Liles (the "face" of the van) and Henry Luna, the week is already in full swing.
PGA Tour winner Sean O'Hair stands off to the side, waiting for the loft and lie on his irons to be dialed in. About 15 minutes later Rory Sabbatini stops in for a minute (literally) to grind his wedges before heading back to the range. And within a couple minutes of his departure, Liles is discussing some tweaks to Brian Gay's 3-wood, before adjusting and re-gripping a RBZ driver for Y.E. Yang.
This isn't a busy time of the day for the TaylorMade Tour Van. Far from it. If anything, it's just another typical Tuesday on the road for Liles and Luna, who seem to fly around the van's three work stations, re-shafting at one, before moving on to the next to grind a wedge.
"We set this truck up on Sunday at the next tour stop to get everything ready for the start of the work week," Liles said. "Then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday it's pretty much like NASCAR. We're tuning up everything for the week, adjusting it for the course, weather conditions ... anything that we believe will give our guys an edge out there."
For most golf fans who frequent PGA Tour events starting on Thursday, the tour van is a mythical figure. Most know it exists, but by the time you arrive, TaylorMade's Tour Van, like the rest of the club manufacturers, is long gone — headed down the road to the next stop.
"A lot of people don't even know these trailers exist out here," Liles said. "In NASCAR, the pit crews are highly visible in the industry, but in this industry it's not. We're almost kept a secret. We're in the ropes or under the trees where no one can see us."
While fans might not see the work being done behind the scenes each week, Liles and his crew are a critical part of the team. They work hand in hand on a weekly basis with all of TaylorMade's staffers, not only helping them tweak their clubs, if need be, but also acting as a sounding board if they're in between drivers or wedges.Read More »from A look inside TaylorMade’s Tour Van, the best kept secret in golf