Seeing double: Tony Finau’s surprising gear addition for the Masters

tony finau ping g430 lst driver

Finau is adding another weapon at the top of his Ping setup for the Masters.

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Phil Mickelson had a wild hair he wanted to pursue ahead of the 2006 Masters. Two years prior, Mickelson had tasted victory at Augusta National for the very first time. Now he was considering something unconventional in the hopes it might give him an edge off the tee — and hopefully increase his odds of slipping on another green jacket.

Mickelson was already hitting a fade on command with his Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 driver, a shot shape that comes in handy when you’re a lefty making your way around Alister MacKenzie’s masterpiece. A consistent draw, on the other hand, was something that had confounded Mickelson in the past.

A draw required making adjustments to the swing, something Mickelson had no interest in doing. So he did the next best thing: He built a second driver at a longer length (46 inches) and repositioned the internal weighting to pull off a draw shot shape.

Ping G430 LST Custom Driver

The PING G430 LST Driver features an exclusive Low Spin Technology (LST) Carbonfly Wrap, a lightweight composite that covers the crown and wraps into the heel/toe sections of the skirt to save weight and lower the CG for more ball speed, less spin and higher MOI. The 8-layer, one-piece composite saves four grams and weighs 11.5g fully installed. A moveable 22-gram, high-density tungsten backweight influences shot shape ±7 yards between the Draw, Neutral and Fade settings. At 440cc, the smaller tour-style LST is available in 9° and 10.5° lofts (adjustable +/-1.5° and lie up to 3° flat from standard) and best fits faster swing speeds. THE DISTANCE DIFFERENCE. MORE BALL SPEED. A shallower, variable-thickness face is thinner to create more face deflection for generating faster ball speed for our biggest distance gains to date. THE SOUND SOLUTION A new integral rib structure and increased curvature of the crown, skirt and sole fine tunes clubhead frequencies to produce a desirable sound and impact experience. SPINSISTENCY A variable roll radius, with less loft low on the face, enhances spin consistency and carry distance. CARBONFLY WRAP Lightweight composite crown wraps into the heel and toe of the skirt to save weight and lower the CG for more ball speed with higher MOI. MOVEABLE BACK WEIGHT A 25-gram, high-density tungsten moveable backweight influences shot shape +/-10 yards between the Draw, Neutral and Fade settings.
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Mickelson employed two 9.5-degree Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 drivers at the BellSouth Classic and won by an astonishing 13 shots. The wild hair had merit. One week later, Mickelson won by two down the road in Augusta and added another green jacket to the collection.

“It was a huge help,” Mickelson said of the double-driver experiment. “I needed it to combat the added length here at Augusta. This is the only course that I can think of that I will probably do it, and I did it last week at BellSouth to get accustomed to it. I don’t know where else I’ll end up needing to do that, but it was a huge help here, and I started going to that driver exclusively, only on holes that I thought I would play cuts. Like on 14 and 17, I ended up hitting that draw driver because I needed the extra length.”

Employing two drivers at the Masters is unconventional, but history proves it can lead to success. Tony Finau is hoping to follow in Mickelson’s footsteps and win his first Masters with a similar setup this week.

According to Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates, Finau is all but certain to employ two Ping G430 LST drivers on Thursday after discussing different options to optimize his performance off the tee, along with the second shot into par 5s.

tony finau ping driver
How Ping supercharged Tony Finau’s driver ahead of the Masters
By: Jonathan Wall

During the discussions, Finau began to realize how seldom he used 3-wood off the tee and ground during Masters week. The only hole he could come up with was No. 8, but it would need to be playing into the wind in soft conditions to make it a possibility.

“With that in mind, we felt it would be worth exploring a driver built to more 3-wood specs,” Oates said. “In other words, shorter with more loft.”

The same week Ping “supercharged” Finau’s 7.75-degree G430 LST gamer (45.25 inches) in Houston, Oates and the Tour team also built a shorter 10.5-degree G430 LST driver at 44.5 inches. (The shorter driver’s loft sleeve is set in the “little minus” setting, giving it 9 degrees of actual loft.)

Initial testing at Augusta the last few days saw Finau carrying it 285-290 yards with the little driver. To put those numbers into perspective, Finau generally carries the gamer driver 305-315 yards.

In Finau’s eyes, the combination of the shorter length with his added speed makes for a lethal combination, especially when he needs to hit a slight draw but doesn’t need to hit it over 300 yards. Since returning to the course in January, Finau has seen his ball speed increase from 175 mph to cruising at 183-185 mph with 190 in the tank.

Along with Finau, other pros in the field have found less conventional options to be a good fit off the tee when they need something that goes 290-300 yards, including Adam Scott, who’s currently using a TaylorMade BRNR Mini.

“It’s unbelievable (the TaylorMade BRNR mini driver), because so many holes pinch, turn, end at 310 [yards] and 320 now, because they’ve geared the courses for us,” Scott said. “And that’s right where the driver [dispersion] is. It’s tight. If you go back to 3-wood, you’re at 270 yards, you’re aways back. But the mini goes 300 and still in the wide part on a lot of the courses we play. That’s what I look for.”

Finau’s “little driver” could see plenty of action on the course this week, particularly on Nos. 2, 7, 10, 14, 17 and 18, pending course and wind conditions.

“Right away it was giving him the performance he was looking for,” said Oates. “Allowing him to hit a straighter shot off the tee or even draw it easier than his gamer driver. Along with the added forgiveness benefits of using a driver instead of a 3-wood.”

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Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at