NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson is known for putter changes. He’s used pretty much every style of flat stick throughout his career, and routinely tests upward of five putters before most tournaments.
If there’s one putter that has stuck with DJ more than others it’s the TaylorMade Spider Itsy Bitsy Limited, which he has used for 13 of his 24 PGA Tour titles including last November’s Masters. To celebrate the victory, TaylorMade announced the release of an Augusta-themed Spider built to the exact specs as Johnson’s gamer. The limited-edition putters have a clean black crown, short slant hosel, black chromed stepped steel shaft, gray Surlyn PureRoll insert and a CounterCore SuperStroke PistolGT 1.0 grip.
If you are willing to part with $500, the putters will be available April 9.
While Johnson comes into this year’s Masters with a putter he knows can use successfully at Augusta National, others are making adjustments to boost their chances. Rory McIlroy has added a Spider X Hydro Blast putter with a SuperStroke Traxion PistolGT Tour grip, and he also is going back to his old TaylorMade P760 and P730 irons with Project X shafts. McIlroy also is adding two MG2 TW Grind wedges, one at 56 degrees and one at 60 degrees, because he feels they offer more versatility from different lies.
Tommy Fleetwood has long used an Odyssey White Hot Pro #3 putter, which is what he started with at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks ago. However, he benched the putter in favor of a TaylorMade Truss M1 that he used to defeat Antoine Rozner in his second match – only to go back to his White Hot Pro #3 on his way to the quarterfinals. It would be a surprise to see him break loyalty this week at Augusta, but a switch isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
You also can put Ian Poulter in the camp of players looking to a new putter. Poulter has used an Odyssey White Hot XG #7 for some time, but joined the trend of players going to the Scotty Cameron Phantom X 11 Tour Prototype. He advanced to the Round of 16 at the Match Play event.
“I’ve always used a No. 7 Odyssey for a while and it's gone cold,” Poulter said. “So when I look for putters, it's interesting, because so many great companies – they keep sending me putters. It's good and bad because there's so many great manufacturers in the world that make lovely putters and they keep turning up on the front door.
“So I am kind of trying them and I'm trying to get the right feel, the right look, and Scotty made me one a week ago, two weeks ago. I told him what I wanted. I wanted some grooves in the face. He did it. It sits right, and that's all I want. I want something that sits well, that looks nice and feels good. At the minute it's working out quite nicely.”
Among other possible Masters gear adjustments, Jon Rahm has inserted a fresh set of Callaway Jaws Forged wedges, Patrick Reed tested a TPT Red Range shaft in his TaylorMade SIM 3-wood and Hideki Matsuyama added a TaylorMade SIM UDI 3-iron.