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Sony Open Tour Truck Report: CH3 newest Ventus Black convert, free agent testing, and Srixon has two new staffers

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With no tour trucks on site until the West Coast Swing begins next week, we had to scrape and claw for every morsel of information for this week’s report. And with the time difference in Hawaii, we may get more info this evening and will update accordingly.

That said, let’s dig into this week’s Tour Truck Report.

Titleist

Charles Howell III put a new Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X in his Titleist TSi3. He was also testing new 4-irons to find a recipe that gapped a bit better with his Ping G410 7-wood and Titleist T100 5-iron.

TaylorMade

Lots of players staff and non-staff players going into SIM2.

Staff

  • Nick Taylor: SIM2 w/ Fujikura Atmos Blue 6 X

Non Staff:

  • DJ Trahan: SIM2
  • Danny Lee: SIM2
  • XJ Zhang: SIM2

Non Staff Testing

  • SIM2/SIM2 Max: Jim Herman, Luke List, Henrik Norlander, James Hahn, Sung Kang, Kyle Stanley, Hudson Swafford

Collin Morikawa has the new TP5 Prototype ball in play and Sergio Garcia is in the new TP5X Proto.

Callaway

Jim Furyk went to a long stick with a 47-inch (tipped 3/4) Callaway Epic Proto Driver (9 degrees) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X.

Will Gordon is also in the new Callaway Epic Proto (9 degrees) with a Ventus Black 6 X and was seeing ball speeds reach 190 mph.

Callaway announced the signing of Tyler McCumber who will be in a full bag of Callaway gear in 2021. We will update on what landed in the bag ASAP.

Si Woo Kim switching to a prototype Odyssey OG Putter

Srixon

Keegan Bradley added the new Srixon ZX7 irons (4-PW) replacing his trust Z745’s. The new irons come equipped with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Srixon also added two new staff members for 2021 PGA Tour veteran KJ Choi and 27 year old Matt Neismith.

Matt Neismith WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

ZX Utility 18: Fujikura Atmos Blue Hybrid 85 X

Z-FORGED (4-PW): Nippon Modus 125 X

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58): KBS 610 Wedge 115g

K.J Choi WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5

ZX7 (5-PW)

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58) w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Free Agents

Not in the field at Sony, but two notable free agents Ryan Moore and Jason Day are in the midst of building new bags. Nothing is secure by any stretch but see below for what we heard they have been testing thus far.

Jason Day

Ping G425 LST Driver, Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons

Ryan Moore

TaylorMade SIM2, Titleist TSi2 and 3 fairways, Mizuno irons (multiple), Vokey Wedges

Also…

Vijay Singh put in a brand new Callaway Epic Proto driver at 46.5 inches with a Fujikura Atmos Black 5 TX shaft.

In regards to players who have signed with new companies, here is the list

PXG

  • Sung Kang
  • Jim Herman

Srixon

  • Matt Neismith
  • KJ Choi

Titleist 

  • Joseph Bramlett
  • Fabian Gomez
  • Nelson Ledesma
  • Troy Merritt
  • Sam Saunders

Callaway 

  • Jon Rahm
  • Tyler McCumber

TaylorMade 

  • Tommy Fleetwood

Ping

  • None
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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

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. A. Commoner

    Jan 14, 2021 at 10:54 am

    How do I benefit from knowing Tommy Downthestreet is now playing Acme brand golf clubs?

  2. brian

    Jan 14, 2021 at 8:45 am

    More free agents looking at putting Mizuno irons in the bag…

  3. Ben

    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Jason Day following my footsteps. Lol. I literally put in an order fora Ping G425 lst driver and 921 tour irons.

    • jgpl001

      Jan 14, 2021 at 6:24 am

      Me too, the same G425 and 921 tour irons combo, plus some Vokey SM8 raw wedges

      It must be the “to have combo for 2021″……….

      • Benny

        Jan 14, 2021 at 8:43 am

        Well if I sold all my pile of old gear I would also be in your boat fellas. Unfortunately I can only fream. One of the best set of irons I owned were JPX 900 Tours that were raw.

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Equipment

How Collin Morikawa found the putter that helped him lead the Memorial

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

Collin Morikawa jumped out to an early lead at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, doing so with a ‘new’ putter in the bag.

The 24-year-old has had a rough spell on the greens, finishing 2020 ranked 128th in Strokes Gained: Putting. He’s 180th in that statistic this season.

The Californian has been using a TaylorMade Spider FCG mallet-style putter, along with a ‘Saw’ grip he learned from Mark O’Meara, for much of this year, but in search of a change of fortunes on the greens, Morikawa has now switched back to a blade-style putter. He used a blade-style coming out of college and in last year’s win at Muirfield Village, at the Workday Charity Open. He added a SuperStroke grip and adjusted the loft on his blade this time.

But this isn’t your average story about a TOUR player switching putters. Morikawa settled on the putter after consulting TaylorMade’s online ordering portal that is available to everyone, from TOUR players to mere mortals. It paid off, as Morikawa shot a first-round 66 while gaining 1.8 strokes on the greens.

For more details on Morikawa’s switch, we spoke with TaylorMade’s Paul Demkowski, Principal Engineer, Product Development and TOUR Rep Todd Chew.

GolfWRX: In terms of MyTP, what did Collin see that he liked and why?

PD: Collin was checking out the options online and reached out to us with his specific needs for the head, the insert, alignment etc. What we built for him is similar to the one he was previously using – a TP Juno with a long neck and sightline on the topline.

The main difference is we machined the face to take loft away, 2 degrees to be exact. With his new setup he has his hands more forward. This allows us to then bend the shaft forward to get the loft he wants in a position where the face is square with hands forward. … If we don’t machine the loft away and simply bend the shaft forward for his new hand position the putter would have way too much loft on it.

Additionally, he commented on how much he likes the copper insert in his FCG putter. We do not have copper available for the TP putters, so we put a stainless steel insert into this putter for a harder feel.

So there are a couple of changes that were exclusive to him, but consumers can pretty much spec out 90% of his putter on our website.

Read the rest of the piece here. 

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Whats in the Bag

Michelle Wie WITB: 2021 U.S. Women’s Open

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Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond DS (9 degrees @10)
Shaft: AutoFlex SF505 X (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch, D3)

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees @15.5)
Shaft: AutoFlex SF505 X

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1800 65 6.0

7-wood: Callaway Mavrik (21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.0

11-wood: Callaway Rogue (25 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.0

Irons: Callaway Mavrik Pro (6), Callaway Apex Pro ’21 (7-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S Pro 950 GH

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50-10, 56-12 @55, 60-10)

Putter: Toulon Garage Chicago (H1 neck)

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (2020)

  • Featured image via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder
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Equipment

Xander Schauffele switches to armlock putter…despite wanting the method banned

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Xander Schauffele has made a significant putting switch this week at Murfield Village, implementing the armlock method on the greens — a technique he feels should be banned.

The Californian is statistically one of the best putters on Tour and ranks ninth this season for strokes gained: putting. However, in a surprising move, he has now decided to move to an armlock version of his regular putter (Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red) in search of more advantage.

On Thursday, Schauffele told media following his opening round that it’s still a method he believes should be banned on Tour despite the change.

“My putting coach (Derek Uyeda), my whole team honestly, we’re very against change and I had to see what the craze was about. I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on Tour, switching putters or the style of putting. It’s a distinct advantage.

“I am for banning the armlock putters, but if everyone else is going to use it and I feel like they have a bigger advantage, I may as well do the same.”

The change worked to great effect in round one at the Memorial. Schauffele needed just 28 putts during his opening round of 68, and after his round, the Californian explained his new process on the greens.

“It’s easier; it’s more consistent. My coach and I work a lot in San Diego on start lines and making sure the ball’s doing what we think it’s doing. And the fact that [the putter] is anchored to your arm…you can flinch in your hands, but you can’t flinch your entire left arm. So that’s the process behind that.”

Despite the change in process, Schauffele still believes that the game’s authorities should ban the armlock method, saying how it “takes the stress of putting out of the game”.

“It takes the stress of putting out of the game. Putting is so stressful. Obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card. It’s ruined a lot of people’s careers and it’s helped people’s career.

“So I think putting is an art in our game and when you lock it to your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that.”

As for putting goals, Schaufelle has set himself a big target of ending the season ranked number one in Strokes Gained: Putting, a goal he feels he can reach now with the armlock technique.

“I know how good it can be and I think you still have to read putts and get the speed down correct. I’m in a very similar setup compared to my old putter and I know I can putt with a shorter putter, so I figured if I can get an advantage on the greens, and maybe get to first in putting, that would be something special. So I’m going to give it a go.”

Xander Schauffele putter specs

  • Model: Odyssey Wrist Lock #7
  • Length: 38 inches
  • Loft: 5.5 degrees
  • Lie: 71.5 degrees
  • Shaft: Black stepped shaft
  • Grip: WristLock SuperStroke
  • Insert: White Hot
  • Alignment aids: Top and tracers in white
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