NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Several top players in the world weren’t afraid to make meaningful equipment changes coming into the Open Championship.
Jordan Spieth, who last changed his irons when he put the original Titleist T100 line into play starting with the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush, once again went to a fresh set of irons at golf’s oldest major. Spieth used a set of second-generation T100s (4-9) featuring the same True Temper Project X 6.5 shafts he had in his old irons. He also added a T200 2-iron, forgoing the use of a 3-iron.
This was no quick decision for the Texan, as he got his hands on the new irons back in May before the PGA Tour seeding process that started last month at the Travelers Championship. He had tested the new clubs at home for several weeks, giving him the confidence to leave his old T100s in Dallas when he traveled to Royal St. George’s.
“First thing you notice is how they look, kind of the backside of the iron,” Spieth said. “You could see the color just kind of more matted-out, and then a really clean back to it. Just very simple – stays looking almost like a blade with the forgiveness of a cavity back.”
Justin Thomas also shifted to the new T200 2-iron, preferring the lower offset, look and feel.
Other players have gone to the T100 irons. Among them, Matthew Fitzpatrick added a 4- and a 5-iron from the line, while Charles Howell III implemented a full set.
Meanwhile, Thomas also swapped his Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 putter for a new Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5 Tour prototype that notably features a “knuckle neck,” which is offset one shaft width, a style akin to that of a Newport 2.
Thomas put the new flatstick in play at the Scottish Open and continued with it at Royal St. George’s. Putting has been an issue for the 14-time PGA Tour winner; he has ranked outside the top 100 in strokes gained putting the past three seasons.
After using a blade-style putter early in his career, Thomas then went with a Futura X5 model of Scotty Cameron for several years before updating to the similar Phantom X 5.5. He was looking for a more consistent stroke pattern, testing different neck lengths to create a different visual while maintaining a similar feel to what he’d used to in the past.
Mechanics played a role in the change as the new putter has slightly less toe hang. But sometimes players just want to look at something different. This is definitely one of those cases.
Lucas Glover, the winner of the John Deere Classic, had been playing a Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash since July 2019 but switched into a 2021 Pro V1 before his victory. He also worked with Scotty Cameron tour rep Drew Page to transition his Select Squareback 2 putter to armlock style. To account for the change in angle that the armlock putter creates, Page added loft to allow for a smoother roll.
While Bryson DeChambeau has been the poster child for gaining distance, an unexpected character has emerged in the race to increase clubhead speed. Dylan Frittelli has picked up 18 yards compared to a season ago, increasing his average drive from 291 yards to 309 yards.
“If you hit it 10 yards longer, you increase your prize money by $1 million,” Frittelli said.
Operating from that perspective, Frittelli went to work in the gym and made equipment changes. Starting with the PGA Championship, he went to a 46-inch Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS and lowered his spin with a more neutral start line. His angle of attack went up about 1.5 degrees and his clubhead speed went to 118 mph.