NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Justin Thomas may have found something just in time for the Ryder Cup.
Thomas went with a longer driver at the Fortinet Championship, using a 45.625-inch Graphite Design VF 5X shaft in his 10-degree Titleist TSR3. His normal gamer has the same clubhead but with a 44.875-inch Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60TX shaft, one he has employed since 2019.
“I wanted a longer driver option to have,” Thomas said during his Wednesday press conference at Silverado Resort in Napa, California. “I wanted something to where maybe I travel with it every week and it’s like maybe I use it five times a year, maybe I use it once, whatever. It’s just three-fourths of an inch longer, but it’s an instant 2 or 3 mph club speed (increase), and it goes quite a bit further.
“We kind of screwed around and (Titleist Tour rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck) sent me some stuff in the mail, but hadn’t done like a proper fitting for one because I know my (normal) driver is great. It works how I want it to … but I’ve driven it really, really well with the longer driver actually the last two weeks using it.”
Originally non-committal about using the longer driver in competition this past week, Thomas did put it in play and was No. 2 in strokes gained off-the-tee and No. 1 in driving distance during the second round, indicative of his confidence with the new big dog.
“If I drive it like I did today, I'll use it for the rest of my career,” Thomas said Friday after a 67 on Silverado’s North course.
This could be an important element for Thomas, a controversial captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. The match, to be held next week at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy, will put a premium on driving. Thomas ranked No. 52 in strokes gained off-the-tee and No. 132 in driving accuracy in the 2022-23 season, although it was his balky putter that let him down more than his driver.
Additionally, Thomas is testing out a new Titleist T100 4-iron, which has a custom weld job near the hosel reducing the offset to zero. That means the leading edge and the hosel are perfectly in line with each other, a rare preference for a tour player.
Keep an eye out for what bag setup Thomas uses in Rome. It could be an important part of what impact he can make for the American squad.