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How a 15-year-old inspired a putter switch for Justin Thomas

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Justin Thomas rocketed up the leaderboard on Thursday at Liberty National with a bundle of birdies on his way to a round of 8-under which was aided by some clinical putting

The hot day on the greens was well overdue for JT, who returned to his Scotty Cameron X5.5 for the event.

Following his round, the 28-year-old explained how a conversation with a 15-year-old was behind the flat stick’s return to his bag.

“You’re going to laugh at me. I had my AJG event last week in Louisville, went right from Memphis, went there Sunday night, spent Monday, went out and kind of saw some of the kids playing their practice rounds, and Tuesday was the Junior Am. But my dad had a couple students, and I went out to go — there’s a girl Abigail that he teaches that I went out to go see because I played a couple rounds with her. She’s a really good player, and she was playing with, I think, another two girls, a girl that my dad teaches and then a boy.

“He was using the putter, pretty much my putter that Scotty Cameron, the line that we kind of came out with, and he was like, you know, when are you going to start using — when are you going to use it again? Are you still using the long neck? I was like, yeah, I am, and I was kind of explaining it, and he’s just like, well, when are you going to start using it again? And I found myself defending myself to this 15-year-old.”

After a quick laugh, Thomas continued:

“I was like why am I not using this thing? I’ve had a lot of success. It’s not like I’m making a lot of putts with what I have. If you’re putting well, any of us can go out and putt with anything.

I don’t know, it kind of hit me. I’m like, the kid’s got a point. They designed a putter after it, maybe I should bring it out. When I brought it out, it looked good, it felt good. Again, a lot of familiar feelings with it.”

And the kid did indeed have a point, with Thomas gaining 2.5 strokes on the greens with the flat-stick, which included a 37-foot birdie effort on his 14th hole.

Overall, Thomas explained to the media that he’d been trying to over-perfect his stroke in the last few months, and the plan is now to simplify things on the greens with his coach John Graham.

“Yeah, definitely trying to over-perfect a stroke and just be perfect in putting. I think John and I, we’ve had a couple great talks the last couple weeks. … I think we do probably a lot more talking than we do putting sometimes, just to kind of talk through things because, as kind of nerdy he is, sometimes I’ll say something that he picks up on.

“Just in Memphis, we were like, you know, why am I changing so much? We want it to perform so well, and he might be even harder on himself than I am on my myself.”

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

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Ryder Cup WITBs: U.S. team

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Team Europe what’s in the bags to follow. Featured image c/o Aaron Dill on Instagram.  

Collin Morikawa

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (8 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 60 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (14 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: TaylorMade P770 (4), P7MC (5-7), TaylorMade P730 (8-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (50 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (56-14F), TaylorMade MG2 Hi-Toe (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

(Photo courtesy of SMS on Tour)

Putter: TaylorMade TP Juno

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 (2021)

Grips: Golf Pride Z-Grip Cord

 

Dustin Johnson

(Image c/o TaylorMade)

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

7-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Black 95 6.5

Irons: TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft-stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG (52 @54 degrees, 60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Limited Itsy Bitsy
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x ’19 (#1)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

 

Bryson DeChambeau

Driver: Cobra King LTD Pro (7.5 degrees)
Shaft: LA Golf Tour AXS Blue 6 X

3-wood: Cobra King Prototype B (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: LA Golf BAD Prototype 70 TX

3-wood: Cobra King SZ Tour (14.5 degrees @13.5)
Shaft: LA Golf BAD Prototype 80 TX

Irons: Cobra King One Length Utility (4, 5), King Forged Tour One Length (6-PW)
Shafts: LA Golf Rebar Proto (37.5 inches)

Wedges: Artisan Prototype (47, 52, 58 degrees)
Shafts: LA Golf Rebar Proto shaft

Putter: SIK Pro C-Series Armlock

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

 

Brooks Koepka

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX

Irons: Nike Vapor Pro (3), Srixon ZX7 (4-PW)
Shafts: Fujikura Pro Tour Spec 95 X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-10S), Vokey SM5 TVD (60-08ML)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP2

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (Midsize) with one wrap of 2-way tape and one wrap of masking tape

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

 

Justin Thomas

Driver: Titleist TSi2 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX

3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Blue 85 TX

5-wood: Titleist 915 Fd (18 degrees @18.75)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4), Titleist 620MB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Raw SM7 (46-10F @47.5, 52-12F @52.5), Vokey SM8 (56-14F @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (60 @ 60.5)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (52-60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron X5 Tour Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

Patrick Cantlay

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX

3-wood: Titleist 915F (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 TX

Hybrid: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 80 TX

Irons: Titleist 718 AP2 (4-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 120 Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (46-10F @47, 52-08F), SM8 (56-08M @57), SM8 Prototype (61)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Tony Finau

Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7, Big -)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1.5 inch)

3-wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 degrees @12.5) (D5+ swing weight)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX (42.5 inches, tipped 2 inches)

Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Ping Blueprint (4-PW)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 105 X (3), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X (4-PW)

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50-10, 56-10), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60T)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 125 X (50, 56), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 125 Wedge (60)

Putter: Ping PLD Anser 2 Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Lamkin UTX Mid (Green)

Xander Schauffele

Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS (10.5 degrees @9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7 X (custom black, 45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch, D3)

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (15 degrees @14)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 TX (43.25, tipped 1.5 inch, D3)

7-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (20 degrees @18.8)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 9 X (41.5 inches, tipped 2 inches, D3)

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (52-10S), Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (56-10 @57), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (60-06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion 2.0 Tour (10 grams)

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X LS Prototype

Grips: Golf Pride MCC (Black/White)

Jordan Spieth

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (2021) (2), Titleist T100 (2021) (4-9)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95 X Hybrid (2), True Temper Project X 6.5 (4-9)

Jordan Spieth’s bag at The Open. (Courtesy of SMS on Tour)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F @8, 52-08F, 56-10S), Vokey Proto (60-T)
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.0 (6.5 in 46)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0

Grips: SuperStroke S-Tech

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x (2021)

Harris English

Driver: Ping G400 (9 @9.2 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XT 70 X

3-wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Blue Tour Spec 7 X

Irons: Ping i500 (3), Ping Blueprint (4-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (3-9)

Wedges: Ping Glide 3.0 (46-SS, 52-SS, 56-SS), Ping Glide Forged (60-SS)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46, 52, 56), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (60)

Putter: Ping Scottsdale Hohum

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

Daniel Berger

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Chrome 8F5

Irons: Callaway Apex Forged ’16 (3), TaylorMade TP MC ’11 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (50-10, 56-10), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (60-12C)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour (Chalk)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Wrap

Scottie Scheffler

Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees @7.75)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 7 X

3-wood: Nike VR Pro (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 8 X

Utility: Srixon Z U85 (3)
Shaft: Nippon Pro Modus3 Hybrid Tour X

Irons: Srixon ZX7 (4), TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 56-14F, 60-A)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Super Rat

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

 

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Equipment

Driver switch for Schauffele ahead of the Ryder Cup

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

New gear at the Ryder Cup is usually limited to custom footwear, but this week, Xander Schauffele will be taking on Whistling Straits with a new driver. The Olympic gold medalist is moving from an Epic Speed Triple Diamond to an Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS.

According to Callaway, the switch is the final piece in the optimization puzzle that began when Schauffele made the switch into the Chrome Soft X LS ball (the LS stands for low spin) in early June, before a run that saw him finish in the top-10 in the U.S. Open and win the Olympic men’s golf competition.

Xander Schauffele’s new driver setup. (Image c/o Callaway)

Schauffele is committed to using the ball for its across-the-bag performance, but the lower spin rate was compromising his ability to hit the tight draw he prefers off the tee.

In a quick-fix solution ahead of the TOUR Championship, Callaway TOUR rep Kellen Watson, installed a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 7 X shaft to help Schauffele squeeze out some more spin with his driver. Schauffele continued his East Lake success that week, shooting the third-lowest 72-hole score of the week to finish fifth in the FedExCup.

However, for Schauffele and Callaway, a solution that allowed him to keep his Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7 X shaft in play was the ultimate goal.

Read the full piece here. 

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Morning 9: Homa feasts, McNealy falters | “6 years of hell” | K.O. for Ko

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
We’ve been featuring more GolfWRX BST content on our GolfWRX Classifieds Instagram. If you don’t follow already, please do!
1. Max’s 3rd
AP report…”Max Homa holed out from the rough from 95 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th to start a back-nine comeback and added three birdies for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory Sunday in the season-opening Fortinet Championship.”
  • “Three strokes behind Maverick McNealy with seven holes left, Homa followed the eagle with a birdie on the par-4 13th. The 30-year-old former University of California player tapped in for another birdie on the par-5 16th and ran in an 18-footer on the par-4 17th. He parred the par-5 18th to finish at 19-under 269.”
2. Dutch Open win caps “six years of hell” for Kristoffer Broberg
AP report…”Broberg rolled in a birdie putt on the 17th to give himself a three-shot cushion going to the 18th and held his nerve for a regulation par five on the final hole to close out his second European Tour victory and the first by a Swede at the Dutch Open since Peter Hanson in 2012.”
  • “It was a return to form for a player whose playing schedule has been restricted in recent years by hip and knee injuries.”
  • “Six years of hell,” he said before choking up with emotion after his victory.
3. LPGA: Ko-ntinuing her ascendency 
John Strege for Golf Digest…”Her last name is spelled K-O, which suffices as well to describe Jin Young Ko’s victory in the Cambia Portland Classic on Sunday, a third-round knockout that was a reminder of how she once spent two years at No. 1 in the Rolex Ranking.”
  • “Ko, 26, began the third and final round of the rain-shortened tournament leading by one, then methodically expanded it into a four-stroke victory, the ninth of her short LPGA career, solidifying her hold on No. 2 in the Rolex Ranking behind Nelly Korda.”
  • “A South Korean Olympian who finished ninth in the Japan Games, Ko took a break from tournament golf post Olympics, precluding her playing in the Women’s British Open. In her return to the LPGA in Portland, she completed 54 holes in 11-under par 205 that included a bogey-free 69 in the final round. Australian Sue Oh and South Korean Jeongeun Lee tied for second.”
The Morning 9 Recommends: Bulletproof Coffee
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4. Johnny Miller on choking
Excellent stuff from Golfweek’s Adam Schupak getting the sitdown with Johnny Miller…
  • “The great champions can lift their game to get the job done or make the great shot, and I was willing to go there. Too many announcers want to be friends with their fellow players, even though they’re announcers. I don’t know, they just don’t talk about it.”
  • “The people are starving for the truth. They’re starving to know what’s really happening. But you can’t just say a guy is choking. You have to say the guy has played fades all week long, now all of a sudden he’s hitting hooks, you know he might be choking. Or he hasn’t missed a putt inside six feet, now he’s missed three in a row. In other words, you can’t just pick it out of thin air and say the guy is choking. I would never just say it without showing you why it’s choking. It would be unfair to say a guy is choking. A guy who’s never hit a hook and he starts duck hooking it on the last five holes, he might be choking. If you’re hitting shots you’ve never seen before or it’s not you, you’re not handling the pressure. You’re folding.”
5. Clarke pips Choi at Sanford
AP report…”Darren Clarke won the Sanford International on Sunday for his third PGA Tour Champions victory of the season, beating K.J. Choi with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.”
  • “Clarke, the 53-year-old major champion from Northern Ireland, closed with a 5-under 65 at Minnehaha Country Club, birdieing the par-4 18th to match Choi and Steve Flesch at 12-under 198.”
6. Whan talks distance
The new USGA CEO talked to Andy Johnson of the Fried Egg…Geoff Shackelford with the notes and quotes…
“New USGA CEO Mike Whan continued his busy interview schedule, this time, appearing on the Fried Egg podcast with Andy Johnson to talk distance.”
  • “This is not going to please those who feel restoring lost skill or design dynamics is needed:”
  • “I think we’re going to establish some guidelines. I think those guidelines are probably going to slow some of the pace of progress over the next 10 or 20 years.
  • “But are [equipment manufacturers] going to figure ways around that to continue to push the envelope? I’m actually counting on it because I think that’s what makes the game exciting. I also think that I have a responsibility to make sure that, when you look at [this issue] over the next 50 years, the decisions we made to control some of that pace didn’t obsolete every course in the country.”
7. Secret weapon? 
Cameron Morfit on the prowess of Viktor Hovland…”At 23, Hovland is a two-time PGA TOUR winner who just finished fifth in the FedExCup. One of the best drivers in the game, he has climbed to 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Of all the Ryder Cup rookies at Whistling Straits – nine total – Hovland may look the least like one.”
  • …He is also a consummate team player with a sparkling match-play record. How sparkling? Allan Bratton, his old coach at Oklahoma State, has run some numbers.
  • “Hovland went a combined 6-0 for the Cowboys in the 2017, ’18 and ’19 NCAA Championships.”
  • “Impressed? Just wait. Also in 2018, he went 4-1 at the Big 12 Match Play Championship, 6-0 in winning the U.S. Amateur, and 2-0 at the East Lake Cup. That’s a combined 18-1 over six events. He needed just 104 holes to win the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, the third-fewest for a winner under the current format that debuted in 1979, and his 7-and-6 quarterfinal victory matched the largest win ever in that round.”
  • “He likes playing for something bigger than himself,” said Bratton, who first ran across Hovland at the European Boys Team Championship, where he liked Norway’s team chemistry. “He’s confident, and that confidence wears on other people. He’s just a winner.”
8. Flat finish for Phil
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”The Hall of Fame lefthander, who in May won the PGA Championship at Kiawah to become the oldest player to win a major, was just four shots off the lead going into Sunday but fell back with a final-round 75 to finish a dozen shots back at 7 under par.”
  • “Mickelson has 14 career TOUR wins in California, tied with Tiger Woods for most since 1983, and will remain at that number for now. Although he made 123 feet, 8 inches of putts with his new grip extension and arm-lock grip on Saturday, the magic wasn’t there Sunday. He took 32 putts and ranked last in Strokes Gained: Putting for the day among those who made the cut.”
  • “Although this week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits will mark the first U.S. Ryder Cup side he hasn’t made as a player since 1993, Mickelson will still be there as one of U.S. Captain Steve Stricker’s Vice Captains. Mickelson planned to fly home to San Diego, spend a night in his own bed, then depart with wife Amy for Wisconsin as the U.S. tries to win back the Cup.”
9. Max Homa Winning WITB
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 130 MSI 60 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI 80 TX
5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 9 TX
Irons: Titleist 620MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (46-10F, 50-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shafts: KBS $ Taper 130 X (46-56), KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125 S (60)
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
Putter: Scotty Cameron T5.5 Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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