Tiger Woods returned to the course at the JP McManus Pro-Am — his first start since the PGA Championship. With the shift to links golf, Woods is always a good bet to make a few changes to the setup. The two-day event in Ireland offered us a glimpse at two changes Woods is likely to make as he heads to the Old Course for the 150th Open Championship.
Let’s get into the potential club tweaks.
Let’s start with the more obvious change: Fujikura’s Ventus Black 6X driver shaft. Unless Woods decides to go another direction in the coming days, it will mark the second time in the last 7 years — Matrix TPHDe at the 2015 Open — he’s changed driver shafts at the Open Championship.
Footage from the pro-am showed Woods and McIlroy exchanging notes on the Ventus Black shaft. For Rory, he’s looking for a low-spin product to dial in his launch conditions. With reinforced butt and tip sections, Ventus Black allows him to go hard and know his good tee shots will be rewarded.
Woods doesn’t have McIlroy’s speed, but one could posit he’s using Ventus Black to lower launch and turn down spin for the elements. Even if the wind isn’t a major problem, having a driver you can flight and get to roll out is always a good thing on links-style courses.
Keep it low
When Woods added two TaylorMade P770 long irons to the bag at the PGA Championship, he made an interesting shaft change as well. Instead of sticking with the True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shaft he’s played in all his irons for decades, Woods opted for a recently released Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Mid.
While the shaft is designed to feel like Dynamic Gold Tour Issue, the Mid version features a taper rate change in the tip section that adds roughly 10-15 feet of additional peak. Having a higher launch in the long irons was beneficial at Southern Hills, but the same can’t be said for the Old Course.
Similar to his decision to go with Fujikura’s Ventus Black in driver, Woods returned to the original Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue in the P770 long irons. Of the two changes he made in Ireland, this is the one that has the best chance to stick next week.
Something to keep an eye on
Woods’ Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter was free of lead tape in Ireland, but there’s always a possibility he could add some to the cavity again — similar to what he did at the 2019 Open — if the greens are on the slower side. Adding lead tape to the putter head is a sure-fire way to increase roll on slower greens.
Even if Woods doesn’t add some to his wand, expect other players in the field to affix a few strips of lead tape to their putter.
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