NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
Titleist enjoyed a banner week, leading the equipment count in every category at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and in all but one category (putters) at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Panama Championship. In Phoenix, the brand led in drivers (27 percent), fairway woods (28 percent), hybrids (34 percent), utilities (40 percent), irons (25 percent), wedges (47 percent) and putters (39 percent).
Two weeks after Brooks Koepka retired his Nike Vapor Fly Pro 3-iron, the last Nike club remaining in his bag, the world No. 1 made headlines with two more equipment changes.
The first was a putter change. Koepka had won four majors with his Scotty Cameron T10 Newport 2, a flat stick that dates back to his time at Florida State University, but he switched to a Scotty Cameron T22 Newport 2 last week in Saudi Arabia. The change was driven by Koepka’s desire to play a larger grip, the SuperStroke Traxion PistolGT 2.0, instead of the standard pistol grip found on his previous putter. He could have continued playing the same head, but chose a new one that has only minor differences from his previous head.
“We just changed the grip, but technically it is a new putter,” Koepka told Sky Sports at the Saudi International. “Pretty much the same thing as the old one, just for the grip change.”
If that qualifies as a small change, Koepka’s other equipment tweak appears to be more impactful. He began last week hitting a TaylorMade M5 driver but switched to a Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero driver on Saturday. The move sparked a 5-under 65 in the third round. Koepka is known for being an equipment free agent, which allows him the luxury of switching brands.
Perhaps the most interesting gear story of the week came from another free agent. Charl Schwartzel decided to forgo the ample equipment resources available at PGA Tour events and bought a set of Miura MB-001 irons online. Schwartzel even drilled holes in the back of the irons himself to reduce the weight of the clubs.
At the Phoenix Open, there were multiple tributes to the late former NBA star Kobe Bryant. The most comprehensive of those tributes may have come from Justin Thomas, who started the pro-am by wearing a Bryant high school basketball jersey and then stamped Bryant-inspired messages like “Mamba Mentality” onto his wedges for the tournament.
"I was getting new wedges anyway so the timing worked out well to put some stamps on there for him,” Thomas said. “I’ve always been a huge fan of his. I’ve always loved watching him play, just loved hearing about his work ethic and stuff that he did on and off the court and how he just always worked harder than everybody else.”
FootJoy won the shoe and glove counts at both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Saudi International.