Wall-to-Wall Equipment: An unreleased driver stole the show on Tour
Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.
When it comes to capturing gear momentum on Tour, a foolproof blueprint simply doesn’t exist. Some clubs (and balls) fire out of the gates and enjoy near-immediate success; others take a more circuitous route on the path to gaining validation with the best players in the world.
Releasing product around the majors poses a different set of hurdles to clear, as most players are less inclined to conduct testing and making changes. That still hasn’t stopped Titleist from going against the grain and releasing some of its flagship products around the U.S. Open.
Two years ago, Titleist launched its TS drivers and fairways at Shinnecock Hills for the 2018 U.S. Open and saw 17 players put them in play the very first week, including Justin Thomas. Last year it was three iron models (620 CB, 620 MB and T100) at Pebble Beach.
Sticking with a similar launch window, Titleist chose to roll out its TSi drivers and fairway woods the week prior to the U.S. Open on the PGA Tour and European Tour.
Even with a short runway to put the drivers and fairways through their paces, Titleist still saw a significant number of players adopt the clubs right away. At the Safeway Open, Titleist topped the driver count (42) and saw 26 players use the TSi driver — Jordan Spieth, Chesson Hadley and Bud Cauley included. In Europe, Titleist also won the driver count (40) and saw high-profile gear free agent Tommy Fleetwood finish T3 with a 9-degree TSi3 driver.
Titleist’s TSi2 and TSi3 drivers and fairway woods are unreleased Tour-only products at the moment, but the beginning of the equipment manufacturer’s seeding process is a sign that the retail launch isn’t far off.
Shane Lowry shook things up the week prior to the U.S. Open. The current Open champion opted to make wholesale changes, replacing his previous Srixon driver and irons with the company’s yet-to-be-released ZX5 driver, ZX utility iron (3) and ZX5 (4-5)/ZX7 (6-PW) combo iron set.
Wholesale gear changes the week prior to a major screams desperation, but in Lowry’s case, he felt the timing was right for a shakeup — particularly with the driver, which was likely on its last legs.
“[The] new set of irons are similar,” Lowry said. “They look a little bit different to what I’ve been using, but they perform pretty much the same and I find the irons easy to change, so that’s easy.
“And my driver, to be honest, I drove the ball pretty poorly over the last while and I do feel like there might be something wrong with the old driver. I used it for a couple of years, maybe it’s gone a little bit. I was getting some weird numbers on TrackMan and stuff, so decided to put a new driver in the bag.”
Made for Elitewood
Tommy Fleetwood remains one of the biggest free agents on the gear market. His current setup consists of Tiger Woods-designed TaylorMade P7TW irons that have been in play since early 2019, but based on photos from Portugal, Fleetwood’s sticks underwent an interesting makeover with a “TF Proto” badge replacing the P7TW stamping.
Next to Patrick Reed and his custom irons, Fleetwood is likely the only other free agent with a set of irons bearing his name or initials.
Sergio Garcia’s bag setup has undergone a massive makeover since he parted ways with Callaway at the start of 2020. The former Masters champion started the year with a Ping-heavy bag, but as the year went on, Garcia reverted back to the brand he used for 15 years: TaylorMade. Garcia added SIM fairway woods at the beginning of the season before eventually slotting in a SIM driver, followed by a set of P7MB irons (3-PW) in Napa.
“I just need to tweak a couple little things here and there and just get some good confidence going, some good things happening and then I feel like I can start doing some beautiful things again, which I’ve done pretty much my whole career,” Garcia said.
Georgia Hall showed off a flashy new Callaway staff bag at the ANA Inspiration. The color scheme has some serious Coachella Valley vibes.
Quick-hitters: Srixon debuted new staff bags. … Chez Reavie finished T3 with a new Scotty Cameron 009 putter. … Russell Know (T9) switched to TaylorMade’s Spider X putter. … Charl Schwartzel added TaylorMade’s P7MC (3-iron) and P7MB (4-PW) irons. … Will Zalatoris’ runner-up showing on the Korn Ferry Tour came with Titleist’s new TSi3 driver (9 degrees) and fairway wood (16.5 degrees) in play.