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Tour Insider: Tiger will rethink his bag (and 3 other equipment predictions for 2021)

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1. Free agents are here to stay

More free agency. It’s become something we have seen more and more as each year passes. The day of the long-term big-money contract is dying away. NOW, it’s not to say the model is dead. There will be plenty of big-name stars who ink multi-million dollar contracts, but the appeal of freedom—especially for the player is the 35-45-year-old range—will be way more of a thing than it ever was.

You can thank Tiger for this. The reason being, prize money is through the roof. The necessity to have a club financial buffer doesn’t outweigh the risk of it going awry. What good is $150,000 per year from an OEM if you can’t make a cut?

The OEMs are seeing this too. To be honest, it means more for validation in some cases if a guy puts a club in play who doesn’t get paid than the other way around. Take Titleist and the TSi for example, how many top name players had it in play who were not getting paid to play it.

This week at the DP World Championship in Dubai for starters, Titleist doesn’t pay any of the below, but the free exposure in the hands of Fleetwood or Reed says a lot to the quality of the product. Point is, if it’s good, players like Fleetwood, Reed, Casey, Rose, Horschel, Koepka, and Fitzpatrick can call on the reps, get it in the bag and nobody gets to whine about it.

Patrick Reed (TSi3 9*)

Tommy Fleetwood (TSi3 9*)

Matt Fitzpatrick (TSi3 9*)

Thomas Pieters (TSi2 10*)

Marcus Kinhult (TSi3 10*)

Branden Grace (TSi3 9*)

Joost Luiten (TSi3 9*)

Kalle Samooja (TSi3 10.5*)

The poster boy for free agency is Koepka. Not only is he a free agent, but he continues to be after three majors and a truckload of money waiting for him if he wants it. So why not take it? Freedom and self-belief, basically. Players like BK will bet on themselves 12 times out of 10. So keep an eye out for more big names to go this way, not overnight, but you’ll see more black Vessel bags than you ever have.

2. More two-driver setups

Yes. Get used to it. I honestly see a ton of players testing this theory out on the west coast. If someone wins, it’ll be a serious thing at Augusta. A 47-inch missile launcher, 44.5-inch bb gun, and a 4 wood. So long 3-wood, folks. It actually makes a ton of sense for any players in the high 170+ ball speed category, where having a club that gets you to the high 180s on command is a serious weapon. If you cant out muscle Bryson, might as well take your chances with a bigger stick.

3. Tiger Woods will rethink his bag

Driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, 3-PW, 56, 60. Over and over for years and years. That’s the set makeup of Tiger’s bag. However, the one thing Tiger is not afraid of is knowing his limitations, and at this point in his career, he will have to start thinking about things in a totally different way.

In my opinion, it’s going to be something at the top of his iron set. 3 and 4-iron may go to a cavity back for more height. We may see a 7-wood, and a blind prediction would be adding a fourth wedge….that’s right. TW with a 52.

Call me crazy, it’s a just a hunch, but if a bag shakeup was going to happen, it will happen now. Granted to add a wedge, he might need to rethink the lofts on his irons. Will it happen? Who knows. I’m basing this whole theory on my following Tiger since junior golf and knowing his ability to accept change when change is needed. Basically, he’s stubborn about these things—until he’s not.

He still has plenty of gas left in the tank to win, but to compete through the air, he may have to look at the bag a bit. If I’m right, it’ll break the (golf equipment) net.

4. This will be the key driver battle

The whole town is on fire in the driver category. At this point, I’ve seen it all, and without giving away anything, I’ll say this: There will not be a clear cut best driver like we had in 2020. SIM dominated everything and rightly so, it was hands down the best stick. 2021 will be a bit different. Not only is TaylorMade bringing a serious hammer, but the rest of the market is following suit.

If anyone has a slight advantage, it’s Titleist having gotten to market first with their best offering maybe ever, but make no mistake, the rest of the OEMs have serious metal hitting early 2021, and in my opinion, the company that wins will be the one that conveys the best story, educates the masses, and pumps content into the atmosphere. These days, having a good product and telling a great story are both necessary. Let the games begin!

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Delbert

    Dec 15, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Why Wunder? LOL! Tiger should go with Ping. Enough said.

  2. Dyson Bochambeau

    Dec 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    This wunder guy is a tool

  3. delbert

    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    When Tiger changes his ego, the bag set up will change and he will win big.

  4. HKO

    Dec 12, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    wait. so the prediction on tiger’s bag was based on Wunder’s arse? what a bait…

    • John Wunder

      Dec 13, 2020 at 9:55 am

      It’s a prediction. Just my opinion on what I think could happen. Supposed to be fun no?

  5. ChristianR

    Dec 12, 2020 at 6:30 am

    mmm…that thing of the two drivers is an hot topic but I’m wondering why they cannot simply stick to a 3 wood considering at that speeds they are anyway around 300yds, and lot more control and shot shaping.

  6. Todd S

    Dec 11, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    hey johnny, you mention free agents using titelist tsi driver, but which driver is most popualar on tour amongst those not paid to play? My money is on Ping…thoughts or stats to back it up?

    • John Wunder

      Dec 13, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Hard to say as free agent would mean a FREE bag 100. Koepka TM Fleetwood TSi Reed TSi Rose TM Fitz TSi Sergio TM Casey TM Horschel TSi and the use if TSi was to explain free exposure not that its the go to.

  7. Alex Howe

    Dec 11, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    SIM as the best driver hands down last year? Ummm

  8. matt

    Dec 11, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    I really can’t believe Tiger still carries that 3 iron. I mean its ridiculous, he’s playing a game that doesn’t exist anymore, i could understand if he ever hit it off the tee, but when’s the last time you saw that?

    The two drivers thing is very real. I remember chuckling at Phil when he did it at the US Open (which one was it again). But it just makes a lot of sense, 3 woods are really hard to justify when you could go this route and pop in a 4w like you say. DJ has officially brought back a limited wedge set as far as I’m concerned. Get a nice versatile lob wedge, one you like in bunkers and can hit distance wedges with. Then go get something in the 53-56 degree range. Learn to feel your distances. This isn’t for everyone, but I think I’m this kind of golfer. It just so happens to open up a spot in the bag too.

    • Rory

      Dec 11, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      Tigers 3 iron loft is pretty close to most other guys 4 iron loft.

    • stephen

      Dec 12, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Rory hits a 3 iron

  9. Speedy

    Dec 11, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    It ain’t the arrow.

    • matt

      Dec 13, 2020 at 9:26 am

      Rory dropped the bladed 3 iron for something with launch assistance.. P770ish type club. If Rory wanted to carry one that’s fine, Rory has tons more speed than Tiger. DJ carries a blade 3 iron I think, again he’s one of the rare guys who is a terrific striker with massive speed. Tiger was obviously once that guy, but those days are long gone.

      The loft point is valid though.. still think that club needs to go though.

  10. Brandon

    Dec 11, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    What color is the top of the Sim 2?

  11. Travis

    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    He definitely will never change the bottom of his bag. He has decades of feel with those wedges. Adding a 52* and changing his PW would do nothing but force him to re-feel different lofts and shots. He would have to have mounds of data showing his proximity is significantly worse when using a weak PW versus a 46/52 or 48/52 setup.

    Tiger will also never change to CB irons. He’s said time and time again he both trusts and likes the look of blades. He won’t be able to have confidence in a CB iron the same way.

    However, he’s been on record to say he’d have no problem adding a 7W when the time is right. I specifically remember an interview with him years and years and years ago where he said he added the 5W because he couldn’t really hit his 2-iron the way he wanted to anymore. In that interview he said, when he feels he can’t hit the 3-iron anymore, he’ll add a 7W, then a 9W, etc.

  12. E

    Dec 11, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    why would Tiger add a 52* when his PW is 49*/50*?? makes no sense

    • John Wunder

      Dec 11, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      If you read the whole article, you’ll see I try to explain what might happen…its just a theory.

      • Gianni still sucks

        Dec 11, 2020 at 4:19 pm

        Your theory sucks, just like your articles. This is just keyboard conversation, acting like it’s an inside tip.

        • John Wunder

          Dec 13, 2020 at 10:01 am

          There’s my Troll!!!!! Wouldnt be an article without yah. God bless.

          • CT

            Dec 14, 2020 at 9:20 am

            I would take this with a grain of salt. He thinks a lot of things suck. I’m sure he’s a gem on the golf course too.

      • Eric Draven

        Dec 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm

        Tiger is still by far the best player in the world 5 Iron down, it’s not even close. His distance control is impeccable so why would he change the wedge setup? And just because you’re here on the west coast doesn’t mean you have any idea what you’re talking about bruh.

        • John Wunder

          Dec 12, 2020 at 12:11 pm

          Im not on the West Coast and this article was just a fun exercise of what ifs. Not gospel by any stretch.

      • George costanza

        Dec 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm

        One of your free agents will be off the free agency board. Sit back and wait for the news. Also John guys like Thomas Pieters and Brendan Grace don’t move the needle. Irrelevant as far as what is in their bag. Just a FYI bud!

        • John Wunder

          Dec 13, 2020 at 10:00 am

          True on the Pieters and Grace, the point was to show that having your driver in a non staffer bag doesn’t hurt your cause.

      • Paulo

        Dec 12, 2020 at 5:10 am

        So aggressive and unnecessary. . The point E made was completely valid !

        • John Wunder

          Dec 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm

          I don’t understand this one. What was aggressive and unnecessary?

    • AC

      Dec 31, 2020 at 9:50 pm

      Ping is for kids! Not specifically tailored towards highly skill Players.

    • AC

      Dec 31, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      Different Bounce… makes a lot of sense.

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Equipment

2021 TaylorMade Spider X, EX, S, and SR putters offer improved roll, feel, and forgiveness

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Building putters is about creating options and incorporating technology. For TaylorMade’s all-new Spider putters for 2021—including the Spider X Hydro Blast, EX, Spider S, and SR—it’s the little details that make big differences.

“With this new class of Spider putters, we focused on removing two of those variables: aim and alignment … While each putter brings something unique to the table, they are bonded by a foundation of forgiveness, stability, and True Path alignment that makes it easier to aim.” – Bill Price, Product Creation, Putters & Wedge

The idea of a “classic” golf club or putter shape won’t generally have people reminiscing about a TaylorMade Spider, but the design has been around for well over a decade—and although it has gone through some design tweaks over the years, the modern Spider is here to stay

Spider X Hydro Blast

This putter is all about small changes to an already great design with the most notable being the Hydro Blast finishing process. The new Spider X also features

  • The classic Spider X head shape, available in both a face-balanced double-bend and a smaller slant neck with 21 degrees of toe hang.
  • Multimaterial construction to offer maximum stability and increased MOI.
  • White True Path for a high-contrast look that is easy to align

Availability and Price

Preorder for the Spider X Hydro Blast starts today, March 2, with putters arriving at retail starting March 12 with a price of $279.99.

The new Spider X will be available in stock lengths of 33″, 34″, and 35″ be completed with a KBS Chrome C-Taper Stepless shaft and Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grip.

Spider EX

With the Spider EX, TaylorMade is flexing its putter design capabilities when it comes to face technology to improve roll and feel. The Spider EX features a new co-molded insert made of white TPU urethane and small aluminum beams angled at 45°. This combination of materials gets the ball up and rolling quicker and also creates a soft yet solid feel to improve player feedback.

Speaking of feedback and feel the Spider EX has a newly designed “Fluted feel” shaft with a more flexible portion starting 5″ below the tip to add stability while also maintaining a softer feel through the stroke,  and is slightly larger than the Spider X to increase MOI.

Availability and price

Preorder for the Spider EX starts today, March 2, with putters arriving at retail starting March 12 with a price of $349.99 – See chart for full color availability.

The stock options will include lengths of  33″, 34″, and 35″, the TaylorMade Fluted Feel shaft and to top it off a Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grip.

Spider S and SR

It’s about options and alignment. The Spider S uses geometry and topline sights to help golfers who prefer to use the width of the ball for accurate sighting.

The Spider S also offers the same Fluted Feel shaft and white TPU Pure roll insert to create a soft feel.

The Spider SR is the “Stability Monster” of the 2021 TaylorMade putter lineup and utilizes multiple weights around the head to raise MOI.

While the Spider S’s alignment system is for players who use the front of the putter, the SR places the True path alignment away from the face and between the wings. This allows golfers to use the clean topline and parallel wings to line up to the intended path while still offering a visual aid to behind the ball.

Availability and Price

The Spider S and SR putters will be available for preorder March 2 and will land at retail beginning April 9, with a price of $279.99. The stock configurations will include lengths of 33″, 34″, and 35 and they will be completed with a TaylorMade Fluted Feel shaft and to topped with a Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grip.

Spider S options

Spider SR options

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Equipment

‘Can’t seem to chip with forged wedges’ – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been trying to help out WRXer ‘RkoDavey’, who is struggling to chip with forged wedges. ‘RkoDavey’ kicks off the thread saying:

“For most of my golfing life, I’ve struggled to chip with my sand wedge but usually have no trouble when I use my gap wedge, and I’m starting to wonder if this is related to my equipment. My gap wedge is part of my P790 iron set, but no sand wedge is available, so I play an Adams Tom Watson forged 56-degree wedge (bounce is 13 degrees).

 I can’t tell you how many times I chunk little greenside chips with my Adams wedge, but if I chip with my gap wedge, the club seems to glide right through the turf, and I have much better results. My problems arise when I have little green to work with and need the ball to stop quick–my gap wedge simply isn’t the right tool for that type of shot.”

And he poses two questions for fellow members to help him out:

“First, is there something about forged wedges that makes them radically different from your typical gap wedge that comes with a set of irons? I had this same issue with the previous irons I owned, and I wonder if it’s my equipment or if it’s all in my head.

Second, what recommendations can you give for a 55 or 56-degree sand wedge that will perform similar to my gap wedge?”

Our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • IPA4me: “Check the bounce. Also, consider cavity back wedges for the added forgiveness.”
  • mootrail: “You’re comparing your super hot face hollow body set wedge to an ancient stamping with zero modern wedge design parameters. They might be perfectly fine for some, but the first thing to do is to toss them out. There are a few hollow body wedges out there, but it’s your swing and conditions first. You need to get to the shop and test them out.”
  • jomatty: “I’d check the leading edge between the two clubs.”

Entire Thread: “‘Can’t seem to chip with forged wedges'”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: GtiClay

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Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of GtiClay.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: GtiClay

GtiClay WITB

“I used to do the WITB more often here. It’s been a REALLY long time. Maybe more than 10 years, and I, unfortunately have only 1 year where I played more than 20 rounds in a year since then. I’m gonna play more… a lot more in the coming years as I’m turning 48 this year and want to have a damn good birthday week at Bandon when I turn 50.

My goal is sub 5 handicap by then. I have still been mostly playing i3 blades and TM 300s. But I want to convert to ‘legal grooves’, so I just picked up my first new set of irons in maybe 15 years. The i210’s… so here’s my current WITB.”

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (10.5 degrees turned a bit to “lower” as I like a slightly open face at address)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix 80M Black Tie X @ 44.5″

3-wood: TaylorMade R9 paintbreak TI (15 degrees)
Shaft: Tipped Ozik Matrix 80M Black Tie X

5-wood: Tour Edge Exotics “ladies edition” (18 degrees)
Shaft: Tipped OG Aerotech SS85 X

Irons: Ping i210 (3-9i)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130X

Wedges: Ping Glide 3.0 46 @ 47*, 54 @ 53*
Shafts: KBS Tour 130X

Callaway PM grind 60*, shaft TBD

(note – this is cold weather setup.  I plan to drop the 3 wood and add my 2019 PM grind 58* and 64* with S400 when it warms up and I need it.)

Putter: Scotty Cameron JAT, TaylorMade Ghost Marenello 355g, both at 34″.

The JAT is somewhere else and due to Covid I haven’t been able to get it, but as soon as I can, I’ll put it into play.

Grip: Stock Pistol

Golf Ball: I love the Callaway HX balls in the wind, but will play most any premium urethane ball that is on sale.

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord BCT midsize with 2x extra tape.

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

 

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