NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
Typically when the golf calendar approaches November, players are evaluating their equipment with an eye toward meaningful change. The fall is a great opportunity to experiment with different clubs, knowing there is plenty of time to acclimate to a wholesale change if necessary.
However, players find themselves in uncharted territory this year. As the Masters looms, small Augusta-inspired tweaks are ruling the season.
That starts with Tiger Woods, who has struggled to find fairways since golf’s restart. In an attempt to help matters Woods put in a 14-degree TaylorMade SIM fairway wood – featuring a Mitsubishi Diamana+ 70TX shaft – last week at the Zozo Championship. He reported seeing an extra 10 yards off the tee and, of particular importance, said he feels the SIM is easier to work both ways and could be a more effective fairway finder.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson cites Bryson DeChambeau as an influence as he tests a 47.5-inch Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero driver.
One of the issues with implementing a longer driver is that it creates a wide yardage gap. To fill that gap, Mickelson is planning to use a 12.5-degree Callaway XHot 3Deep, the same club he used in place of a driver during his triumph at the 2013 Open Championship.
It will be fascinating to track whether Mickelson shows up at the Masters with a DeChambeau-inspired driver and what is essentially a 2-wood. And it will be worth watching to see if other players also bring significantly longer driver shafts to Augusta National.
Of course, it’s not all about distance. Struggling with his lag putting, Collin Morikawa is looking to switch into a TaylorMade Spider FCG mallet with a more vertical hosel to fit his eye at address. Morikawa is ranked 192nd in strokes gained putting on the young season and will be hoping to turn it around in time for the undulating greens at the Masters.
Also, Jason Kokrak recently switched to a Bettinardi Studio Stock 38 production putter that was an inch longer than usual. The 36-inch putter helped Kokrak stand a little taller at address, and the move paid off with his first PGA Tour victory at the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek. He led the tournament in strokes gained putting, picking up more than 10 strokes ahead of the field on the greens.