An eleventh-hour iron change keyed Justin Rose’s win | Wall-to-Wall Equipment

justin rose cobra irons

Rose switched to a mixed set of Cobra King irons at Pebble Beach

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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.

Championship changes

justin rose cobra irons
Rose and his Cobra King Tour 4-iron. Getty Images

Justin Rose waited until the absolute last minute to make a significant change to his irons that paid off in a big way at Pebble Beach.

The former major winner was spotted testing different iron models in recent weeks, but nothing seemed to stick. On Tuesday afternoon at Pebble Beach, Rose inquired about the possibility of testing Cobra’s 2023 King irons, but the initial plan was to have a set built with different shafts (Project X 6.5) and put them through further testing at home in London.

“I’ve worked with him a little bit before on the fairway wood, but not to this extent with the irons,” said Cobra Tour rep Ben Schomin.

It didn’t take Rose long to realize that the irons — a mixed set of King Tour (4-iron), King CB (5-6) and King MB (7-PW) — had a chance to make the bag right away during his first session on the range.

Testing revealed a tighter dispersion, consistent turf interaction and an ability to flight the ball on command — all things Rose needed during a wild week on the Monterey Peninsula.

Cobra King Tour

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Click through to purchase your new Cobra King Tour irons at Fairway Jockey.

With the wind wreaking havoc on the tournament — forcing a Monday finish — club selection (and trust) were key down the stretch. Even with less than 48 hours to get acclimated to the irons, Rose managed to stay out of trouble on all three courses, posting four consecutive rounds in the 60s en route to his first PGA Tour title since 2019.

Out of all the new irons in the bag, Rose leaned heavily on the King Tour 4-iron during the final round. Rickie Fowler’s iron of choice turned out to be the perfect club for Rose at the top of the set. While he lamented not having a 3-iron in the bag for several shots, the additional ball speed King Tour produced allowed him to lace a 211-yard 4-iron through the wind on the 8th, during the final round, to set up a crucial par after going eagle-birdie on the previous two holes.

“Actually, I’m glad I didn’t have the 3-iron that time,” Rose said. “That was a good 4-iron.”

In addition to breaking a four-year drought, the victory at Pebble put to rest questions about Rose’s game — and gear. Shortly after he was unveiled as the centerpiece of Honma’s Tour staff in 2019, Rose won at Torrey Pines and looked destined to make good on his multi-year deal. But the win ended up being the lone highlight during a bizarre five-month relationship that ended with a parting of ways at the Players Championship.

“I haven’t been that comfortable with my equipment for the last two, three years,” Rose said. “Having a choice is also quite tricky. Too much choice. So, yeah, I feel like the real key is having — there’s so much good equipment, it’s almost having someone that really knows your game and helps you with the fitting process. I think that’s probably the most important part of it all.”

Switching it up

jordan spieth titleist tsr2 driver
Spieth is a fan of the TSR2 shape. Getty Images

If there was a knock on Titleist’s TSi2 driver — at least from the Tour pro perspective — it was the angular shaping around the toe. Better players prefer a more traditional pear shape, Jordan Spieth included.

It’s one of the reasons why he refrained from using the TS2 and TSi2 during previous driver releases.

With Titleist adopting a more natural pear shape profile with TSR2, especially in the heel section, Spieth finally came around to the idea of embracing the 2 driver at Pebble Beach. Working with Titleist Tour rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck, Spieth began testing the driver against his TSi3 and found the TSR2 to provide an improvement in heel-toe forgiveness and overall performance with his five shot shapes.

The only modification Spieth made to the head — he kept the same Fujikura Ventus Blue 6X shaft — was a switch from the A-1 SureFit setting (standard loft and lie) to D-1 (0.75 degrees less loft and standard lie) to dial in the flight window.

“The TSR2 can easily get the ball in the air,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “The D-1 setting provided that ideal launch and spin rate on draws and fades. The face angle also looked better to Jordan. It was an easy decision once he started to see how it performed against his gamer.”

Quick-hitters: Justin Rose became the fourth winner in five starts to win with a Callaway Paradym driver (8.5 degrees; Fujikura Ventus Black 6X shaft). His “standard Paradym” is actually a Tour version with an additional sole weight port near the face. … TaylorMade confirmed Aaron Wise has joined its staff and plans to play a new Stealth 2 Plus driver and 3-wood. … Abraham Ancer won the Saudi International with Titleist’s 2023 Pro V1. … Rose added two Titleist Vokey Design SM9 wedges (52-12F and 56-08). .. Matt Kuchar used a Titleist TSR3 driver at Pebble Beach. … Bryson DeChambeau is no longer on staff with Cobra Golf.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’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 jonathan.wall@golf.com.