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Dustin Johnson switches driver shafts for the 2018 U.S. Open (after his 6-shot victory)

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Dustin Johnson absolutely waxed the field at last week’s 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic, winning by six strokes (after holing out on the last hole for eagle). So, naturally, he decided to change driver shafts going into the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

DJ switched from a Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec X shaft that he’s played for the last several years, into a Project X HZRDUS Black driver shaft — he uses a 95-gram version of this shaft in his 3 wood.

“Keith Sbarbaro of Taylormade really helped make the switch,” said David Wilson, a Tour rep for True Temper. “From what we were told, DJ was happy with everything in his bag, but the driver. He plays HZRDUS Black 95 (grams) in the 3 wood and 105 hybrid in his driver iron. Kinda makes sense to keep everything consistent throughout the bag. He also stated that with the new driver and shaft, he was hitting it more consistently in the center of the face.”

Specs

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft:Project X HZRDUS Black 75 (tipped 1 inch)

Related: Dustin Johnson’s Winning WITB from the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic

Dustin, who’s playing with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas today in the featured group, is currently tied for the lead and sits at 1-under par through 8 holes. So I guess the driver shaft change seems to be working thus far. But let’s keep an eye on his driver performance throughout the week. Will he stick with the new shaft, or go back to old Fujikura faithful?

The overarching lesson here is this, though: GolfWRX members see all equipment changes.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jim

    Jun 15, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    Lotta trust & faith in a move like that – especially since it’s not the ‘Safeway open’…Rare for a cat to swap one out unless they were feeling the shaft ‘wasn’t right’…

    I swapped out a driver shaft – a few decades ago – a DG X100 in a wood driver inbetween rounds 2&3 of a major ’cause he said “it lost it’s feel”…

    He went on to win

  2. BRENT

    Jun 15, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Doesn’t DJ own part of a shaft company????

  3. NolanMBA

    Jun 14, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Interesting. That’s not a very popular shaft in driver.

    • ~j~

      Jun 15, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Certsinly not a bad shaft. It wont play soft like the Tensei or fujikura’s, solid through contact though.

      I’d imagine DJ’s version of the hzrdus probably plays like rebar though.,,,

  4. Travis

    Jun 14, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Wow. DJ has played the same driver shaft since he started on Tour. Obviously he rips his 4W with that shaft in it, but still surprising he changed!

  5. ogo

    Jun 14, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    If Dustin wanted to play a state-of-the-art graphite shaft, he should try the Seven Dreamers ($1200) autoclave cured shaft which squeezes out excess epoxy plastic that makes the shaft tip floppy and soggy.

    • Dan

      Jun 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Why do people keep saying this?
      Is this a meme in this community?

    • Chris Embardino

      Jun 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      If seven dreamers has that much epoxy and resin in their shafts that they need to “squeeze out” or it makes it floppy, then they’re using far inferior materials to that of Fujikura for sure. Not even to mention project X. MCC, maximum carbonfiber content is present in every fujikura shaft. That Speeder has been his gamer for a long time. It got him to where he is because it’s so predictable. I’m sure he changed because of a minor swing issue that it helped to fix. He’ll be going back to that Fuji as soon as the open is done for sure.

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Tiger Woods wins the Tour Championship with a final-round 71

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Tiger Woods closed the Tour Championship at East Lake with a final-round 1-over 71 for a two-stroke victory over Billy Horschel and his first win since 2013.

Woods began the day with two beautifully struck shots and a smooth 10-footer for birdie at the opening hole, serving notice that he had no plans of relinquishing the three-stroke lead with which he began the final round of the Tour Championship.

Indeed, if there was any doubt Tiger Woods would win his 80th PGA Tour event, and his first since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational, Woods’ steadiness throughout his opening holes put that corrosive quantity to rest — save for a few tense moments over the final few holes.

With a 10-foot putt to save par at the fourth hole, Woods stayed four ahead of Justin Rose and five strokes ahead of Rory McIlroy, who remained stuck in neutral. Rose missed his par effort a hole ahead moments later. For Woods, five strokes clear of the field, the march was on.

Well, sort of. He did flub this delicate pitch after flying the green with his approach shot at the par-5 sixth hole.

And yet, with Woods driving it well (he found the fairway at the 481-yard seventh hole with a 293-yard stinger off the tee following the par at the fifth), it was always going to take torrid play from either Rose or McIlroy to keep Woods from No. 80; the par train would assure him his 43rd victory in 45 tries when leading entering the final round of a PGA Tour event.

Woods parred the second through the ninth holes, making the turn with a 1-under 34. He made the turn at East Lake with a five-stroke lead.

Wayward off the tee at the 10th, Woods punched out from the trees, leading to his first bogey of the day. No matter, as Rose made bogey ahead and Woods lead remained at five.

Steady, smart, it was mostly a story of putting himself on the right side of fairways and the right spots on East Lake’s lightning-quick greens over his next few holes until a 141-yard approach shot set up a 13-foot birdie at the par-4 13th.

Like that, Woods — for whom it’s not hyperbole to say 9 out of 10 golf fans felt he’d never win another tournament as recently as mid-2017 — was five strokes clear of the field with five holes to play.

After narrowly avoiding a water ball at the par-3 15th hole, Woods reasonably assured himself the victory, even though he was unable to get up and down with his pitch from the rough just beyond the water hazard and bogeyed the hole.

But he didn’t make it easy on himself, pulling a wood left off the 16th tee that settled down in the rough, punching the ball forward ultimately bogeying the hole to fall to 1 over on his final round and just two strokes ahead of Billy Horschel, in the clubhouse at 9 under, with two holes to play.

Another wayward effort — again left — off the tee at the 17th, and Woods, already sweating profusely in the Georgia heat, surely perspired further. Ultimately, however, he managed to make par, and summarily pounded a 347-yard tee shot down the fairway at the 18th hole with a two-stroke lead.

Woods found the bunker with his approach, but with little doubt left about the outcome of the tournament, he made the walk to the 18th green amid this surreal scene.

A tap-in par later, and Woods — who only began hitting full shots in early October of last year following his spinal fusion surgery — captured the Tour Championship and his 80th PGA Tour win.

For context on Woods’ incredible return to the winner’s circle, check out what our Andrew Tursky had to say.

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Tiger Woods fires third-round 65, takes a three-shot lead into final round

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Tiger Woods walked to the first tee at East Lake today like a gladiator entering an amphitheatre. Beginning the third round of the Tour Championship with a share of the lead, a sea of supporters were there to hoot and holler as he strode purposefully towards the opening tee. Expectancy was in the air, as after all Tiger Woods has converted a 36 hole share or solo lead into a win a remarkable 77 percent of the time throughout his career.

Both at Valspar and the Open Championship, Woods was unable to find that extra gear when he found himself atop the leaderboard. Today, however, was a different story, and Woods delivered the performance that came so natural to him when he was in his pomp.

Woods began his round with a piped drive down the first fairway, and after his approach shot landed just outside 20 feet on the first green, it appeared that the 14-time major champion was on his way to a steady start. However, when he rolled that birdie putt into the center of the cup, the galleries of East Lake responded with a cacophony of noise. Tiger Woods was on the march.

After a two-putt par at the second hole, Woods began a charge that turned into the performance he had been searching for all year when he’s found himself in contention. Woods birdied the third hole after stuffing a wedge to eight feet and burying the putt, and when he then birdied the par-4 fourth hole measuring 479 yards after nailing another putt from outside 20 feet, the crowd and Woods began to believe that today could be special.

To say Woods fed off that sublime birdie and the energy of the crowd would be an understatement. The 79-time PGA Tour champion put on a clinic over his next couple of holes, draining consecutive birdie putts from inside 10 feet, The great man then produced a scintillating approach shot from the fairway bunker on seven which just crept over the greenside trap and settled five feet away from the hole for an opportunity for Woods’ fifth straight birdie. Woods slammed the putt right in the middle to take him to six-under par for the day and 13-under par for the event.

Woods’ one blemish on the opening nine came on the tricky par-3 ninth hole, double-crossing his tee shot and failing to get up and down from off the green. Despite the error, Woods’ opening nine scorecard made for an imposing sight. 30 strokes that included six birdies and gave him a four-shot lead.

A clutch seven-foot par save on 11 kept the momentum rolling and it didn’t take long for the American to capitalise on that impetus, cutting his iron approach into the par-4 12th to seven feet. He then walked that birdie putt in to take him back to 13-under par.

Woods then parred his way to the 16th hole, a hole which he took a six on in round two, and it looked set to be another big number on the cards for Woods after he missed the green with his approach and then saw his ambitious flop shot run back to his feet. But Woods executed a nerveless bump into the hill with his next shot that took all the sting out of the ball and trickled out to tap in range for a superb bogey save.

On Woods’ penultimate hole, he barely missed his birdie putt, and after popping in his par putt, he approached the 18th tee with a three-shot lead. Woods striped his driver down the middle of the fairway, but a pulled approach into the back greenside bunker and a disappointing splash out meant Woods had to settle for a par to finish a thrilling round of 65, giving him a three-shot lead entering tomorrows final round.

Ask any Woods supporter, and they’ll tell you the one element missing from the great man returning to the winner’s circle in 2018 has been his inconsistent driving. Well, the decision to change recently from the Mitsubishi Tensei Orange shaft that he had been using for most of the year, to the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Whiteboard shaft may well be the final piece of the complicated Tiger Woods puzzle. Woods looked as good as ever off the tee with the chief in hand on Saturday afternoon, finding 10 of 14 fairways on day three.

A victory tomorrow would be Woods’ first since 2013. His first win since four back surgeries that threatened to end his career. His first win since the majority of golf’s talking heads declared he had the chipping yips. His first victory since he suffered public derision after he received a DUI which turned out to be the cause of a toxic mix of prescription drugs. There is no way to downplay it, a win for Woods tomorrow would be one of the most memorable of his career. He has pulled himself off the canvas to within touching distance of his third Tour Championship victory. Should he claim that victory tomorrow, it may well be Woods’ finest hour outside of his 14-major championship wins.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Driver now a weapon, Tiger leads | What makes Bryson so good | Paulinagram

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

September 21, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger in front again
Another FedEx Cup playoff event, another Tiger Woods first-round lead.
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods finished his day at the finale with a closing nine of 31 after a slow start and was tied with Fowler atop the season-ending leaderboard at 5 under par. He’s been in this position before from Tampa to St. Louis and was equally impressive two weeks ago at the BMW Championship when he opened with a first-round 62 for a share of the lead….But Thursday at East Lake felt different. It felt better.”
  • “This was by far better than the 62 at [the BMW Championship],” said Woods, who is playing at East Lake for the first time since 2013. “Conditions were soft there. It’s hard to get the ball close here. There’s so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can’t get the ball close.”
  • “On Thursday he had the look of a complete golfer, a five-tool player whose only limitation was running out of holes. Statistically he finished inside the top 10 in strokes gained: off the tee (eighth), tee to green (third), fairways hit (fourth), driving distance (eighth), greens in regulation (fifth), proximity to the hole (sixth), scrambling (first) and strokes gained: putting (eighth).
  • “I felt in control today,” Woods said without even trying to hide the knowing smile that inched across his face. “I had a lot of control over my shots.”
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall noted Woods’ warmup didn’t suggest a low number was forthcoming…”It was not an auspicious start. The warm-up wasn’t smooth, a fair share of drivers sailing over the left-field fence that separates the East Lake range from the 16th hole. The irons were a little thin, and he wasn’t dropping many putts on the practice green. There were a few grabs towards his back, the infamous part of his frame that kept him sidelined for so long. That someone forgot to tell the golf gods to turn on the A/C-a couple degrees from an Atlanta record high, apparently-wasn’t helping matters, the print of his shirt already unrecognizable from sweat when he arrived to the tee.”
“So when Tiger Woods three-jacked from 30 feet on the first hole, it felt like the opening salvo to a song-and-dance we’ve seen too many times before.But not on the only face that mattered.”
2. Also, Rickie
A PGA Tour.com report notes that Fowler (who co-leads the Tour Championship with El Tigre) is feeling good”Now he’s tied for the lead in the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake, his 5-under 65 holding up for the best score of day one with Tiger Woods.”
  • “I haven’t been on any type of painkillers,” Fowler said of his strained right oblique, which kept him out of the first two Playoffs events, THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell Technologies Championship. “Like just standard Advil. And the big thing and reason why, I didn’t want to mask anything, just because if something did come up, I wanted to get the real response from my body.”
  • “Fowler’s body responded most especially on the greens, where he made nearly 92 feet of putts and ranked second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.”
3. The big stick delivereth
Golf Channel’s Mercer Baggs…”Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.”
  • “Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation.”
  • “It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and hat helped produce an eagle.”
  • “It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.”
  • Woods had this to say…“[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that’s to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.
  • “And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they’re in play and they’re shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I’m just as far. The neat thing is I don’t have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don’t have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”
4. Paisley
Meanwhile, on the Web.com Tour…AP Report…”Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.”
  • “The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.”
  • “I think just all around was really good,” Paisley said. “I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.”
5. What makes Bryson so good?
Our Peter Sanders takes a headfirst dive into the data.
A few morsels…
  • “He averaged over 300 yards, 15 yards longer than the field, and hit more fairways than the 2017 winners.  Further, Bryson (Blue arrows below) had 35% fewer driving errors than those made by the 2017 winners.”
  • “Bryson did hit more greens-in-regulation (blue arrows below). BUT remember he hit more fairways and made fewer errors. Finally, Bryson’s proximity when he hits the greens* is closer to the 2017 Tour average than it is to the 2017 winners”.
6. Rory PACIlroy?
A Golf Channel report indicates Mr. McIlroy may have a seat at the Player Advisory Council table…”I’m not on the PAC. I’m probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what’s going on and give your input and whatever.”
  • Input and whatever! McIlroy also said he likes the new Tour Championship format, sort of.
  • “I like it for the FedExCup. I don’t necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don’t know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it’s good.”
7. New Web.com schedule
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine with the details...”The 2019 Web.com Tour season will now end on Labor Day, the PGA Tour announced on Thursday.”
  • “The new schedule features 27 events, including three new events and a three-event Finals (down from four). The three new events are the Suncoast Classic Feb. 14-17 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., Evans Scholars Invitational May 23-26 in Chicago and TPC Colorado Championship July 11-14 in Berthoud, Colo. The Finals will consist of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (Aug. 15-18), Albertsons Boise Open Aug. 22-25) and Web.com Tour Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).”
  • “The Web.com Tour has enjoyed tremendous momentum in recent years and has created a platform from which graduates are enjoying immediate success on the PGA Tour,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “The revamped schedule will allow for a more natural cadence to the season for our fans, while providing an earlier finish that enhances the visibility of the Web.com Tour Finals.”
8. JT pain free
Golf Channel report...”After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.”
  • “Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.”
  • “If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn’t have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I’m going to get as many points for the team as possible.”
9. Interpreting Paulinagram
Charles Curtis of For The Win on an Instagram story Paulina Gretzky posted that features the Great One’s daughter listening to a song.
  • “As some people have noted, these are the lyrics to the Dustin Lynch song attached to that photo:..I’d be jealous too, if she was with you…I’d be out of my mind, watching her move…If I was just a guy with across the room view….I’d be jealous too, if she was with you, with you.”
What does it mean? Who knows? Who cares? Some combination of the two?

 

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