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Wall-to-Wall Equipment: Tiger’s TaylorMade P7TW irons, Koepka’s new gear and more

January 21, 2019

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.

Changes coming for Tiger?

Trying to predict Tiger Woods’s bag setup for the new year is a favorite pastime for many gearheads. Before last week, the early guess was a couple TaylorMade M5/M6 metalwoods following a season where Woods had 14 new clubs in play at one point.

For someone who tends to go at his own pace when it comes to accepting new gear, Woods broke all of the historical trends in 2018. Maybe that’s why it shouldn’t come as a shock that he’s considering overhauling his irons less than a year after he broke in TaylorMade TW-Phase1 prototypes for the first time at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Woods was originally seen with a new set of TaylorMade P7TW prototypes — the same set Tommy Fleetwood was gaming in Abu Dhabi —  at a company photo shoot last month, which led some to wonder if the irons had any staying-power in the bag.

The answer to that question appears to be a resounding “yes,” after Woods showed up to a Nike event outside of Houston recently with them in the bag. We’ll need to wait until the middle of this week before confirming Woods’s setup, but based on what’s transpired recently, chances are good he’ll have some new irons in there.

Putter piques Rose’s interest

Justin Rose’s new equipment went beyond the new Honma clubs receiving most of the press at the Desert Classic. Rose chose to work with Axis1 Golf — he confirmed the two sides had been working behind the scenes on a putter for the last 18 months — on a custom winged mallet featuring the company’s torque-free design.

The unique design places the center of gravity right on the center of the face and aligned with the axis of the shaft to keep the face square at impact, improving accuracy and consistency.

“It’s a putter that basically has the center of gravity and the sweet spot perfectly in line, which basically means it has zero twist,” Rose said. “It wants to remain square to the plane in which you’re putting all the time. A face-balanced putter doesn’t always mean that it wants to stay square, right? When you hold it, the face points to the sky. We don’t putt to the sky, we putt with the shaft in a different plane to that. So it’s got some great technology and that piqued my interest quite a while back.”

Koepka making moves

As an equipment free agent, Brooks Koepka doesn’t have to worry about inserting a new driver or set of irons to satisfy a contract. It’s because of the freedom he enjoys with his clubs that he only made one significant change last season, replacing his TaylorMade M3 driver with the M4 version prior to the U.S. Open.

In just his second start this year, Koepka chose to shake things up a bit with the addition of TaylorMade’s M5 driver and a set of Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons. Koepka used his JPX 900 Tour irons to win three major championships, so the new set has some big shoes to fill.

Koepka offered feedback on the JPX 919 Tour design, including the thinner topline that’s based on his visual preferences.

Streelman’s Swag

Justin Rose wasn’t the only player in the Desert Classic field with a new putter deal. Kevin Streelman, who was born and raised in Winfield, Illinois, chose to sign a putter-only agreement with Chicago-based startup Swag Golf. He debuted an Anser-style Handsome Too prototype that, like Rose’s Axis1 putter, was custom-made to his exact specifications.

According to Swag Golf Tour rep Tim Pyrcik, Streelman’s putter underwent 20 iterations before a final version was approved. The putter was outfitted with a deep-dish pizza headcover for the Chicago-area native.

Mickelson’s ball receives tech upgrade

Callaway’s Triple Track Technology was originally introduced on the ERC Soft golf ball, but that didn’t stop Phil Mickelson from giving the design a try on his Callaway Chrome Soft X during the tournament week. The blue and red lines on the side of the ball utilize Vernier acuity, the same visual technology used to land planes on aircraft carriers.

According to Callaway, the technology improves alignment, compared to the regular side stamp found on many of today’s golf balls, particularly when it comes to putting accuracy. Mickelson opened with 60 but came up one short to Adam Long in his first start of 2019.

Fleetwood’s Tiger irons, new driver

Not only did Tommy Fleetwood use a set of TaylorMade P7TW irons bearing Tiger Woods’s initials in Abu Dhabi, he actually had the opportunity to give the irons a run on the course before the 14-time major winner.

While it was only one tournament, Fleetwood seemed pleased by how the irons performed in a competitive setting.

“I’ve been looking for a while, and I’m still sort of on that testing journey, but at some point you have to put them in and play the golf course,” Fleetwood said. “I’m really happy with how they’ve hit. The shots that I did hit did what I thought they’d do, so I was happy with that.”

Fleetwood chose to change drivers as well, upgrading from TaylorMade’s M3 460 to the new M6. Instead of changing the entire build, Fleetwood continued on with the same Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70TX shaft from his previous driver.

Quick-Hitters: Shane Lowry had Srixon’s latest irons in the bag, including the Z U85 (20 degrees), Z 585 (3-5) and Z 785 (6-PW), during his come-from-behind win in Abu Dhabi. … Titleist won the PGA Tour driver count (45 in play) outright for the second straight week. … Justin Rose’s Honma TW747 driver was outfitted with the company’s Vizard FD-7X shaft. It’s not often you see tour players use a non-aftermarket shaft. … Three Scotty Cameron prototype mallets are coming to retail very soon.