Wall-to-Wall Equipment: This red-hot driver continues to make waves 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.
The Big Mo
Titleist’s TSi continued to make noise in Hawaii as the most-played driver at the Sony Open. Of the 47 drivers in play, 43 were TSi2, TSi3 and TSi4. It’s also worth noting that 14 did so without an agreement — a sign the driver is winning early head-to-head testing battles.
The TSi driver has been on a roll since it was first introduced in September at the Safeway Open. Even with a short runway to put the drivers and fairways through their paces following the conclusion of the playoffs, Titleist still topped the driver count (42) and saw 26 players use TSi the very first week. Titleist also won the driver count (40) in Europe that same week.
The momentum hasn’t slowed since the winter break.
Of note, Russell Henley followed Adam Scott’s lead and tapped TSi4 (10 degrees; KBS TD 80 shaft, A-1 setting) after noticing an uptick in heel-toe forgiveness during offseason testing.
“Russell was seeing more speed off the face but was really blown away on TSi4’s forgiveness versus what he had been playing in the prior generation TS4,” said Titleist Director of Player Promotion J.J. Van Wezenbeeck.
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One week after Marc Leishman was spotted with an Odyssey White Hot OG #1 WS putter at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Si Woo Kim joined the list of early coverts with a #1.
“Right away Si Woo loved the feel of the insert,” said Odyssey Tour Rep Joe Toulon. “He and his caddie noticed an instant improvement in speed control and he couldn’t wait to put it in play.”
The OG is a recreation of the original White Hot and features the same two-part urethane insert formulation that put White Hot on the map 20 years ago.
Jon Rahm isn’t the only name changing gear this year. PXG expanded its PGA Tour staff by eight — the announcement also included six players on the Korn Ferry Tour — with the addition of Jim Herman, Sung Kang, Danny Lee, Luke List, Henrik Norlander, Adam Schenk, Kyle Stanley and Hudson Swafford
A company representative confirmed the deals vary slightly by the player, and most are not 14 clubs. At the moment, staffers are still being fit for new gear, which means we might have to wait a few weeks before getting an accurate idea of what they’ll have in the bag this year. One guarantee is all 8 on the PGA Tour will be required to have the PXG logo on the side of the hat.
Long time coming
Keegan Bradley finally found a replacement for his trusty Srixon Z745 irons in the recently released ZX7 (4-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue shafts). Bradley noticed a tighter dispersion with the new irons, which offer a more compact shape, slimmer toplines, and narrower soles than the ZX5.
Mass was also repositioned in the head toward the sweet spot, and along the perimeter, for a softer feel and greater stability.
As Father Time continues to creep closer, Jim Furyk doesn’t have any interest in bidding adieu to his time on the PGA Tour. Even at 50, the former U.S. Open champion continues to maintain a presence on the big tour, even as he logged six starts on the PGA Tour Champions last year.
While Furyk’s never been considered a bomber on Tour, he’s still trying to squeeze every ounce of distance out of his driver in an attempt to keep up with guys like fellow Callaway staffer Will Gordon, who touch 190 mph ball speed during testing with a Callaway Epic Max LS driver.
Furyk isn’t getting anywhere close to that number, but he did switch to a 47-inch Epic Speed (9 degrees) to pick up some additional juice. Furyk averaged 293 yards off the tee in Hawaii, an increase of 7 yards from his last Tour start at the Safeway Open. Even more impressive? He managed to get longer will maintaining his impressive accuracy (T3 in driving accuracy).
Quick-hitters: Callaway’s ’21 Epic launch coincided with 13 new drivers going into play at the Sony Open. … Brendan Steele finished T4 with TaylorMade’s SIM2 driver (9 degrees).
Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our sister company, True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.