Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear roundup in which GOLF’s gear editor Jonathan Wall guides you through the latest trends, rumors and what’s news.
Justin Thomas has never been afraid to change equipment in big moments. Several years ago, Thomas switched driver trees to the Tour Championship with $15 million on the line. Kicking off the 2022 FedEx Cup Qualifiers at TPC Southwind, Thomas again chose to make a significant change to the big stick, replacing its Titleist TSi driver with a 10-degree TSR3.
According to Titleist Tour representative JJ Van Wezenbeeck, Thomas had an “incredible” test session with TSR during the Travelers Championship – the first week the rider made his Tour debut – but chose not to put it on. in play with the Scottish Open and Open Championship. in cask.
“It was a short time to get into Connecticut,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “That was one of the reasons he waited so he could spend more time with it at home. What he noticed right away in the first tests was incredible consistency. The spin the higher was lower, lower spin was higher. That’s what you expect from a driver when he misses you. He also saw better ball speeds all over the face. It’s basically to take all the great things from the TSi he had success with and make it better.
Thomas’ driver is fitted with a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60TX shaft; the SureFit jacket was positioned in the D1 setting, which lowers the indicated loft by three-quarters of a degree to 9.25. Reducing the loft on the head also opens up the face – a look Thomas prefers to see in the address position.
“The top priority for JT with driver is performance on the full variety of shots he likes to hit, from piercing low cut to high draw and everything in between,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “He’s also looking for that classic shape, a very clean look and a great sounding speaker. TSR ticked all those boxes for him.
Hoping to find a 3 wood that produced a bit more spin while staying within his usual launch window, Rory McIlroy went with a TaylorMade 15-degree SIM2 with a Mitsubishi Kai’li White 80TX shaft. The head and stem change was one of two adjustments McIlroy made to his setup for the first event of the playoffs.
McIlroy also added a 58-degree TaylorMade MG3 lob wedge with 11 degrees of bounce. If you’ve been struggling with the lob wedge, maybe it’s time to switch to McIlroy’s current setup. View the full report here.
The bigger the better
The release of Scotty Cameron’s Special Select Jet Set coincided with the introduction of two Tour-only putters in Memphis that were based on retail offerings. One of these models (Timeless+) ended up catching the eye of Rickie Fowler, who narrowly made the FedEx St. Jude Championship champ as the last man.
Along with employing a new caddy, Fowler switched putters in Memphis and found his shot on the greens — something that eluded him for much of the season.
“Hit a few putts with it, everything looked good, felt good,” Fowler said. “I messed it up a little more [on Wednesday] and decided to give it a shot. There was a lot of good today. In fact, a lot of very good putts. Left a few shorts, but other than that, some of it was just a little off to read. It’s just a slightly bigger, slightly deeper version of what the current Newport is.
As Fowler mentioned, the overall look of the new Timeless+ (with the Newport-style Mastersful+) is very much in line with two of Cameron’s most classic designs. The big difference is some extra width on the backstrap which makes the putter look slightly wider.
The Special Select Jet Set+ model is comparable to the retail version if weekend golfers want to get their hands on Fowler’s new putter.
Scottie Scheffler missed the weekend in Memphis, but still managed to highlight the incredible work going on at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by donning a personalized FedEx St. Jude Championship headgear on his pilot Taylor Made. Scheffler was one of several players on the court who opted to use special headgear for the week.
We have options
As players faced milder conditions at TPC Southwind, Joaquin Niemann swapped his Ping iBlade 4 iron for a Ping G425 5 hybrid (24 degrees; big minus loft shaft setting) after home testing with a a number of different options.
“He had reached out last week to test 4 and 5 hybrids to get more top height from 235m,” Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates said. “I sent him a couple of 9 wood, 4 hybrid, 5 hybrid, 230 yard 4 irons, including one with a graphite shaft. He was given a bunch of different clubs to test.
Compared to a traditional 4 iron, hybrids with similar carry distances tend to be longer. Not wanting to go any further, Niemann requested that the hybrid be built to his usual 4-iron length to gain more control and maintain a similar ball flight.
While the 5-Hybrid was given the green light in Memphis due to the haul distance premium, Oates confirmed that it is still a course-dependent option going forward.
“I think we’ll see this club again, with the 4 iron,” Oates said. “It really feels like a course-dependent club. We will see how it controls it from left to right. On a week like this where it’s mild and the wind is low, I think it’s a great option. But as more control comes into play, we’ll see how it goes.
Taylor Moore peaked at the right time. Dating back to the John Deere Classic, the Tour rookie has only finished outside the top 25 once in his last five starts. The good shape coincides with the switch to Ping’s i230 irons, which have yet to hit the market.
Moore, who was playing i210 before the change, wasted no time in adopting the updated version. Check out some hand-held photos of Moore’s irons that were captured in Memphis.
Ping’s PLD putters have taken the Tour by storm this season. The equipment maker hopes its latest line of putters will generate the same buzz. The nine putters launched at TPC Southwind come in two different finishes – two-tone and matte black – and face options.
“We’ve brought back the color blocking from the Heppler line,” said Ping Tour rep Dylan Goodwin, “but in a new finish, we call it platinum. It has a nice contrast for the face. Some models have it , others don’t. With this line, we wanted something that would appeal to as many people as possible.
The shallow machined face features two tungsten weights – 23 grams total – in the lower heel and toe half. A Pebax insert is another option for golfers who prefer a softer feel at impact.
“Some models we were able to add tungsten to the heel and toe to maximize MOI and stability,” Goodwin said. “So wherever we could, we did that to maximize forgiveness for all players. But it’s important to note that although the machined face and the Pebax have different feel, they still have different ball speeds similar.
Finau’s Anser 2D putter and a rounded Mundy mallet are two of the new head shapes offered in the range. Goodwin was on hand in Memphis to get feedback from Ping staffers on the new face shapes and constructions.
tiger on the brain
Even when he’s not on the field, Tiger Woods is always part of the conversation on the range. If you missed the story that was written last week, go check it out. This gives you a good idea of Woods’ appeal at major gear launches.
Whatever the goat wants, the goat gets.
Fast hitters: Webb Simpson is the only pro to wear a 5.5 iron. … Before retiring with a neck injury, Hideki Matsuyama was spotted with an Axis1 putter in the bag. …Softspikes had pros offering commentary on a new Tour Flex Pro spike. … the Odyssey “Playoffs” headgear won the week. …Jordan Spieth added a Titleist TSR3 3 wood (15 degrees; D1 SureFit setting) with a Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 75TX shaft.
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