NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play typically puts a priority on putting, so it’s no surprise several players arrived at Austin Country Club hoping to reverse their poor fortune on the greens.
Matt Kuchar pulled a Bettinardi KM2 DASS VWS welded mid-slant putter out of his garage just before he left for Texas. In this case, it mainly was about wanting to look at something different so he could have more comfort at address. It worked right away in the first match as he dispatched Justin Thomas, 3 and 2, holing a few long putts in the process. That led to a run to the semifinals and a third-place finish.
Rory McIlroy is clearly a desperate golfer. For all of the talk about his ballstriking woes – and significant issues remain in the wedge department – perhaps not as much attention has been given to his struggles with the putter. McIlroy came into the WGC ranked No. 105 in strokes gained putting, which follows a season in which he was ranked 122nd. He earned a No. 24 ranking in 2019, the best putting year of his career.
In Texas, McIlroy applied a large SuperStroke Traxion PistolGT Tour grip to a silver TaylorMade Spider X. It’s believed that McIlroy has not played a SuperStroke grip before and rarely has tinkered with a jumbo grip that helps players take more hands out of the stroke. It will be interesting to watch whether the experiment makes its way to the Masters next week.
Matt Jones, fresh off his victory at the Honda Classic, is known not only for his speedy play but also for his lack of changing equipment. When Jones was growing up in Australia he met Jim Ahern of Titleist at age 16 and started using the brand’s MB irons, which have remained in his bag for more than two decades now. His two PGA Tour victories came nearly seven years apart, but Jones used the same model of irons (Titleist 712 MB) for both. As for how many new sets he has been through, there’s no telling. As for fairway woods, Jones has struggled to be comfortable. He recently put in a Titleist TSi3 with 16.5 degrees of loft, which reduced the spin from his previous model and allows him more freedom in shaping shots.
Not everything a player keeps in his bag is used for the actual golf swing, and Jones is a great example of that. His 3-year-old daughter had put a toy phone in his suitcase before he left for the Players Championship, so Jones put it in his bag on Sunday at the Honda as a way to calm down and remember what is most important. It clearly worked.