NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Justin Rose hasn’t recorded a win or runner-up finish on the PGA Tour since the pandemic hit. And after a run of 10 seasons during which he reached the Tour Championship at East Lake nine times, Rose has ended the last three seasons at 91st, 126th and 106th, respectively, in the FedEx Cup standings. He was No. 14 in the world when the tour paused for COVID, and now he is No. 69 as of last week. This recent slide is the lowest he has fallen in the OWGR since 2009.
Injuries and age have played a role, but so has equipment. The 42-year-old Englishman has been experimenting at a wild rate.
Rose left a 20-year relationship with TaylorMade to sign a 10-club deal with Honma, a relatively boutique Japanese manufacturer, at the start of 2019. He won in his second week using the clubs, but the risk ended up being more detrimental than beneficial. By March 2020, Rose showed up to the Arnold Palmer Invitational without any Honma clubs. The relationship officially ended two months later, and Rose became a free agent with TaylorMade, Cobra and Titleist clubs.
From there, his club choices were all over the map. In the past two years, Rose’s drivers have included a TaylorMade SIM2, Titleist TSi3, Ping G425 Max and TaylorMade M1. Now he is using a Titleist TSi4. Rose’s fairway woods also have changed. He has used TaylorMade M4s and a Cobra King Speedzone Tours, but he has since changed to two TaylorMade Stealths, a Cobra Rad Speed and the occasional Callaway Apex UW hybrid depending on the course setup.
The irons have resulted in even more turnover. Since leaving Honma, Rose has used TaylorMade P7MBs, P730s and Tour Preferred MBs, Mizuno MP-20s and Pro 221s, Titleist 620 MBs and a Srixon ZX 4-iron. Now he is going custom by playing a set of Miura irons with a “JR” logo stamped on them. Custom clubs have become popular, as Adam Scott (Miura), Maverick McNealy (Callaway) and Justin Thomas (Titleist) are among those to put customs in play this year.
Rose had been playing the Titleist 620 MBs recently but found that he was having an issue with navigating flier lies during tournaments.
“It’s funny. You test clubs, but before you play them in competition, you don’t really know,” Rose explained to Golf WRX. “In competition, you get all sorts of different lies and situations, and pressure, and adrenaline, and things like that. I loved the look of those Titleist irons, I just felt like the groove was not close to my TaylorMade groove, which I never catch a flier with.
“I felt like there was maybe a best of both worlds. So I tasked … the guys at Miura there to make me something. I saw they did something cool for Adam Scott. They came, and I thought they had a touch more offset than I had anticipated. Testing that was really interesting. I felt like I hit them straighter because of that.”
There is another change, too. Rose momentarily has abandoned his long-time claw putting grip, instead opting for a more conventional style. His putter is still an Axis1 Rose Proto.
“It still doesn’t feel conventional to me,” Rose said. “Conventional to me is the reverse overlap. I put the left finger down the side of the shaft, so it’s almost a two-thumbs style where my thumbs are very close together. So I don’t regard that as a traditional putting grip. I’m still quite a traditionalist in where the straight-up reverse overlap, thin grip, Scotty Cameron style putter; that for me is traditional … but yeah, a slight modification. You know, a lot of guys are gripping it like that. Danny Willett has the exact same putting grip. Matt Wallace is quite similar. Matt Fitzpatrick has the exact same grip. It must be an English thing.”
Rose tied for ninth at the Houston Open and then finished tied for 29th in last week’s RSM Classic.