Wall-to-Wall Equipment: Scottie Scheffler was forced to replace a key putter piece at the Masters
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.
Hidden in plain sight
Scotty Cameron Tour rep Drew Page is used to doing loft and lie check the week of a major to ensure everything is in good working order.
Usage usually dictates whether a putter needs a minor loft bend or lie angle tweak. With Scottie Scheffler on site at Augusta National early in the week, Page took arguably the hottest wand on the planet back to the Titleist truck for a routine once-over before the tournament commenced.
This is the point where things took a bizarre turn for Tour rep and pro.
With Scheffler’s Scotty Timeless Tourtype GSS putter situated in Titleist’s loft/lie machine, it didn’t take Page long to notice something “felt off.” The loft and lie were off in a big way — to the point that Page started to look for clues as to why that might be the case.
“I put it in the loft/lie machine and it was significantly off – not by just one degree, but by multiple degrees both ways, which doesn’t happen very often,” Page said. “That’s when I checked the shaft and could see that it was bent.”
While inspecting the putter, Page noticed a slight dent in the shaft that could only be seen when the light hit it a certain way.
To confirm his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him, Page had J.J. Van Wezenbeeck, Titleist’s director of player promotions, take a look at the shaft to verify he saw the same thing.
It didn’t take him long to spot the dent.
Page immediately texted Scheffler to relay the news and received the green light to replace the shaft on Wednesday morning, along with a new Scotty Cameron Dancing Cameron Cord grip.
“Getting his swing weight correct can be a bit tricky,” Page said. “But we got everything dialed in, and after a few minutes on the putting green he said everything felt great.”
It’s unclear how the damage occurred to the putter shaft in the first place, but it didn’t wind up mattering in the end. Scheffler didn’t skip a beat with the new build en route to his first green jacket.
Scheffler’s Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks K-Grind lob wedge (60.06) received a special shoutout after the win, thanks to a tournament-altering birdie chip-in from 29 yards on the par-4 3rd hole that swung the momentum back in the 25-year-old’s favor.
“I had a lot of nice up-and-downs,” Scheffler said. “If I was to pick one part of my game that excelled the most, I would say it was probably my lob wedge. Even today, I had some really good up-and-downs in the beginning of the round and then just kept myself in position.”
Scheffler, who ranked second in scrambling for the tournament (69 percent), has been playing a full set of Vokey wedges since early 2021 but didn’t have the K-Grind on the radar until he tried out Xander Schauffele’s Vokey 60K lob wedge late in the season. He made the switch to the wide sole 60K official at the 2021 Tour Championship.
“He’s been hooked ever since,” said Vokey Tour rep Aaron Dill. “He loved how it popped golf balls out of the sand. He loved how when he was in the rough it felt like it was gliding through the grass faster than some of the other wedges he’s used.
“He sort of traps everything. If you look at how he hits shots, most of his shots are low with a lot of spin. So he has a lot of shaft lean. He’s got a descending blow, but I think for most shots, he just really wants to feel it cut, but also slide at the same time. And with a little bit wider sole, you get that sensation a lot of times. I think that’s really what he’s hoping for is just those two feels.”
Charl Schwartzel was asked on Friday afternoon if he could attribute his strong Masters start to anything in particular. The former Masters winner had only logged two top-10 finishes in his last 11 Masters starts — and one of those was a dramatic 2011 victory that netted him a green jacket.
“I actually took two weeks off, and as the two weeks went by, my confidence grew in belief that I could win this tournament because I was starting to hit it very good and just looked at old footages, and it’s still there,” Schwartzel said.
Old footage, you say?
“Footage of winning here,” he confirmed.
Getting back to what worked in the past is a good way to reclaim your mojo. So, too, is returning to the set of irons that helped you get to the top at Augusta National.
While Schwartzel didn’t dust off his Nike VR Pro Blade irons for the 2022 edition, he did the next best thing, employing Mike Taylor and the team at Fort Worth, Texas-based Artisan Golf to create a set of custom blades meant to mimic the Nike set he’d used during his time as a Swoosh staffer.
Taylor and several other members of Artisan Golf were the heartbeat of Nike’s engineering and tour team up until the apparel giant chose to shudder its hard-goods business in 2016. If anyone knows what makes Schwartzel’s gear tick, it’s Taylor and Co.
It should come as no surprise that Schwartzel found his form with the new irons in tow. He ultimately finished T10 and produced one of the shots of the tournament with an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 10th hole.
Min Woo Lee switched over to a 9-degree Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond S driver after a series of changes leading up to the Masters. It all started with a move away from Callaway’s Chrome Soft X golf ball into Chrome Soft X Star after coming to the realization that he needed more spin throughout the bag at Bay Hill.
“With how firm the greens were and where pins typically are during a Tour event, he felt like he needed more spin,” said Jacob Davidson, Callaway’s PGA Tour manager. “[The Chrome Soft Star] is the ball he originally played when he was on staff with us as an amateur.”
Switching to the Star ball created one problem, though: The additional spin was suboptimal for his driver characteristics. In an attempt to stay in Callaway’s Epic Speed head, Min Woo tried out Fujikura’s Ventus Black shaft in the head to lower spin, but the profile reduced his ability to work the ball on command.
Hoping to stay in the Ventus Red he’d been playing previously, Callaway Tour reps suggested he test Rogue ST Triple Diamond S — a Tour-only driver model that’s quietly been gaining traction on Tour. Better known as Xander Schauffele’s driver of choice, the pear-shaped head and deeper face proved to be a suitable option for Min Woo, who was able to pair the head with Ventus Red and the Star ball and not worry about a negative uptick in spin rate.
“In the end, he was happy because the Ventus Red has that familiar feel, and that was something he wanted to keep, if possible,” Davidson said. “Finding a head that fit that shaft was a win for everyone in the end.”
Your move, Nike
Tiger Woods confirmed to Sky Sports that he’ll tee at it up St. Andrew for the Open Championship in July. Whether he’s strolling the fairways in Nike or FootJoy footwear remains to be seen. Woods created a stir in the week when he arrived for a practice round sporting FootJoy Premier Packard shoes.
A member of Nike’s staff since 1996, Woods confirmed the decision to wear something sans Swoosh came down to needing the necessary stability to handle 72 holes at Augusta National.
“I have very limited mobility now,” he said. “Just with the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg, I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable. That’s what I’ve gone to.
“Nike’s been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment and work, and we have worked, we’ve been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again. We’re still going to continue doing it, and hopefully we’ll have something soon.”
Assuming the Open Championship is indeed his next start, Nike has a full three months to create a stable shoe that checks all the boxes. The clock is ticking.
Not every equipment change has to be a major ordeal to earn a spot in the weekly equipment notes. Case in point: Viktor Hovland’s latest adjustment to his Ping G425 LST driver.
“He did a bunch of driver work on Monday night to limit curve and start his traditional cut a little more left,” said Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates. “After trying a few things, he ended up in a head with a little more loft that did the trick.”
In this particular case, Hovland went from a 9-degree head into a 10-degree that featured a more upright setting than he’s used previously.
“It’s a 10.5-degree head at 10 in the Dot, which is the most upright setting,” Oates said. “The LST head is already flatter, so it comes out to about one-degree upright for Viktor. That’s roughly two degrees more upright than what he had been playing.”
Quick-hitters: Rory McIlroy confirmed he switched to a different version of TaylorMade’s TP5x golf ball at the Valero Texas Open. McIlroy, who was most recently in the latest TP5x model, likely switched to a previous iteration. … The Masters marked Tiger Woods’ first official tournament with Bridgestone’s Tour B XS golf ball in the bag. … TaylorMade announced a multi-year NIL agreement with top-ranked amateur Keita Nakajima … To add more height around the green, Joaquin Niemann swapped his 60-degree Ping Glide Forged Pro S-Grind lob wedge for a T-Grind version. … Louis Oosthuizen replaced his Ping Blueprint 4-iron with an iBlade 4-iron that delivered a slightly higher launch with added heel-toe forgiveness. … Cameron Champ adjusted his lie angles one-degree flatter (3-iron through lob wedge) to ensure his start line was more right. … To produce a lower launch with maximum spin, Brooks Koepka tested a Cleveland RTX ZipCore lob wedge with a mid bounce.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.