Brooks Koepka makes 2 surprising gear changes ahead of U.S. Open
BROOKLINE, Mass. — Brooks Koepka made headlines earlier this year when he walked away from free agency and signed an equipment deal with Cleveland/Srixon that included the “underrated” ZX7 driver and Z Star Diamond golf ball — two pieces of gear he wasn’t using prior to the move.
Both have been bag staples since the deal was consummated, but that could be set to change at the U.S. Open.
Situated next to the practice green on Tuesday morning, Koepka was spotted hitting deft chip shots with a Titleist Pro V1x — the same ball he used for all four of his major titles.
During a brief conversation with Justin Thomas, who was situated a few feet away, Koepka inquired what version of the Pro V1x ball he was playing as the two finessed different shots into the green. The conversation went back and forth on the golf ball for several minutes before the two went back to their practice routines. (It should be noted Thomas also plays the Pro V1x.)
In addition to the ball, Koepka was also spotted using a TaylorMade M5 driver during a practice round. For those who don’t know Koepka’s gear history, it’s the driver he used for his last major win at the 2019 PGA Championship.
The sight of Koepka essentially breaking contract to play a competitor’s driver and golf ball less than six months after inking a deal might be cause for concern, but according to a Cleveland/Srixon rep, the manufacturer has been aware of the situation and temporarily granted Koepka the opportunity to use both pieces of gear at the U.S. Open.
“In this early stage of our partnership, Brooks Koepka has validated the performance of the Srixon driver and golf ball,” a Cleveland/Srixon representative told GOLF.com in a statement. “Though performance has been promising, the characteristics are not a perfect fit, yet.”
Instead of requiring Koepka to use a driver-ball combo that hasn’t been a “perfect fit,” Cleveland/Srixon confirmed they’re shifting the focus to yet-to-be-released products specifically designed for Koepka’s needs
“To work through this adjustment period most efficiently, we decided to focus our energy on fitting Brooks into the next generation Srixon driver and golf ball prototypes that will debut on tour in the near future — products developed with Brooks’ input and needs in mind,” the statement continued. “While we get this organized in the next couple months, Srixon is temporarily allowing Brooks to use his previous driver and ball. Of course, he will continue playing Srixon irons and Cleveland Golf wedges. Both parties are fully committed to the partnership, and we are confident Brooks will be back in a Srixon driver and golf ball soon.”
As for the ZX7 irons and Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedges Koepka has been using, both will remain in the bag at The Country Club. What remains to be seen is how long Koepka plays the TaylorMade driver and Titleist balls. Equipment manufacturers typically wait until later in the year to release new products on Tour ahead of the new year, so the temporary change has a TBD expiration date.
When Koepka does decide to put a Srixon driver and golf ball back in play, it’s very likely it will be something we haven’t seen before.
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