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A shocking Backstryke putter appearance + 7 interesting gear photos from the Zurich Classic

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Welcome to New Orleans, where TPC Louisiana plays host to the 2024 Zurich Classic. In between breakfast beignets and nightly Creole feasts, PGA Tour players are also competing in the unique two-man format at the Zurich this week.

Although the vibes in Nawlins are a bit lighter-fare than the recent back-to-back competitions the Masters and the RBC Heritage signature event), the gear news was no less serious this week.

We spotted some recent changes from Rory McIlroy, a very rare Odyssey Backstryke putter, dove into the bag of legendary New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and spotted Patrick Cantlay continuing to test new equipment.

Get your beads out and crack your crawfish, because it’s time for an equipment rundown from The Big Easy (meaning New Orleans, of course, not Ernie Els).

See all of our photos from the Zurich Classic here

Rory’s on-and-off lob wedge

Since the end of 2023, Rory McIlroy has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a Titleist Vokey K-Grind lob wedge. In his last start, it was on, and the wedge is back in the bag again this week. We got a great look at the complicated grind that McIlroy uses.

 

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A full look into McIlroy’s bag above also shows that he switched out of the TaylorMade BRNR Mini Copper that he used at the RBC Heritage, and he’s back into the Qi10 core 3-wood. As we discussed last week, McIlroy will likely keep the BRNR around as a course-specific club, trading it in and out for the 3-wood.

See Rory McIlroy’s full 2024 WITB from the Zurich here

Turning Back the clock

Unless Tommy Gainey is in the field, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see Odyssey’s Backstryke technology make an appearance on the PGA Tour.

But then, when you least expect it, Russ Cochran shows up.

For more than a decade – since the 2013 Sony Open in Hawai’i – Cochran has been stuck on 599 PGA Tour starts. This week will be his 600th.

Cochran is in the field at the Zurich this week playing alongside Eric Cole, whose regular caddie is Reed Cochran, Russ’s son.

The Backstryke putter was first released back in 2010, and its unique design helps shift the axis point of the putter closer to the CG of the head. And, the putter is getting a nod this week at the Zurich Classic, thanks to Cochran’s 600th career PGA Tour start.

The putter is certainly awesome, but don’t forget to check out Cochran’s full WITB from this week.

Drew Brees with a Super Bowl winning Scotty Cameron putter

Drew Brees, a legendary retired quarterback for the hometown New Orleans Saints, made an appearance at the Zurich’s Wednesday Pro-Am, playing alongside Zach Johnson, Ryan Palmer, and current Saints QB Derek Carr.

Brees’ bag included a TaylorMade Stealth2 Plus driver, a BRNR Mini 13.5-degree, a Stealth 5-wood, a mixed set of P-790 and P-760 irons, Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedges, and a custom Scotty Cameron “New Orleans Saints” putter, which Scotty made for Brees following his Super Bowl MVP-winning performance in 2010.

 

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It should also be noted that Brees has his Venmo QR code as a bag tag.

If you’re gambling with Brees on the course, just know that not having cash won’t work as an excuse.

Brilliant.

See Drew Brees’ full WITB from the Zurich here

Stricker’s unrecognizable putter

Steve Stricker has made numerous upgrades to his bag recently, including a new TSR3 driver and T100 irons, but his longtime Odyssey White Hot No. 2 putter is still going strong. It’s the most recognizable unrecognizable putter ever.

Here’s a better look at Stricker’s flatstick, which he started using back in 2007.

 

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Patrick Cantlay has opened the equipment-switching floodgates

Over on the PGA Tour’s Equipment Report this week, we covered Cantlay’s recent switch into Ping Blueprint S irons, and a Titleist TSR2 driver.

Cantlay hadn’t switched irons for about seven years, so the iron switch he made at The 2024 Masters came as a shock to the norm. He simply isn’t one to change gear very often, so anytime Cantlay makes a switch, it’s news.

It seems the floodgates of equipment testing have opened up a bit for Cantlay, who was also spotted testing a custom Scotty Cameron blade putter on Tuesday this week. By Wednesday, Cantlay was back practicing with his familiar Scotty Cameron T5 Proto mallet, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on going forward.

Daniel Berger’s custom Jailbird site lines

Berger, who’s currently using Odyssey’s Ai-One Mini Jailbird mallet putter, has a unique 3-dot, 2-line alignment on the crown of his navy-white-navy-white mallet putter. Looking down at the putter, it’s easy to see why this alignment system would help; it just seems impossible to set up to the ball off-center, or misaligned to the target.

Also, for anyone worried, you can rest easy. Yes, he’s still playing the 2013 TaylorMade TP MC irons, which we highlighted in our recent “Modern Classics: Old vs. New” video testing series.

FitzMagic teams back up

Brothers Matthew and Alex Fitzpatrick are teaming up once again at the Zurich this year, and Bettinardi Golf hooked them up with some festive “FitzMagic” headcovers to match this week.

See what else is in Alex Fitzpatrick’s WITB here

And, with that, we say goodbye to the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Don’t forget to check out all of our photos from this week, including 30 unique photo galleries full of equipment photos.

We’ll see you next week in Texas for the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson!

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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.

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Equipment

Why Wyndham Clark is playing a brand-new driver and an old putter this week

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article originally filed for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report by our Andrew Tursky. Read the full piece here. 

At the top end of the bag, Clark is set to change into Titleist’s new GT2 driver during the first week it’s being made available to PGA TOUR players. On Monday, Titleist officially unveiled its new lineup of GT drivers and fairway woods, and Clark plans to become one of the early adopters of the new technology as competition begins on Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Interestingly, Clark was relatively late to make a permanent switch into the company’s previous TSR3 driver. Although the TSR drivers first launched in 2022, Clark was back-and-forth with the 2020 TSi3 driver and the 2022 TSR3 driver until the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2024.

On Wednesday, GolfWRX.com caught up with Clark to get his take on the new GT2 driver, and why he’s switching so quickly.

“It’s faster (than my previous TSR3),” Clark said. “I felt like I got 2-3 mph more ball speed, which is amazing. And it has really consistent spin, which is obviously huge for what we do out here.”

…On the bottom end of the bag, Clark will likely play his first event since 2023 without an Odyssey Jailbird putter in the bag.

In case you forgot, Clark and Rickie Fowler were the trendsetters who brought the 2014 Odyssey Versa Jailbird back to the forefront of the golf market in 2023. Clark then switched into the upgraded Odyssey Ai Jailbird during the week of his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

This week, however, Clark is going back in time, switching into a PXG prototype mallet that he used in 2022.

Read the full piece at PGATour.com

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Whats in the Bag

Sungjae Im WITB 2024 (June)

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Driver: Titleist TSi2 (8 degrees, B1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X

3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees, B1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

Hybrid: Titleist H2 818 (19 degrees, B1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD Hybrid DI 105 X

Irons: Titleist T100 ’19 (3-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (48-10F @47, 54-14F @53), SM7 (60-04L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron F-5 Tourtype SSS
Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy 1.0PT

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

See the rest of Sungjae Im’s WITB in the forums.

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Whats in the Bag

Peyton Manning WITB 2024 (June)

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  • NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning participated in the Memorial Tournament’s Pro-Am.

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @12.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke 3HL Max (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue

5-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue

Irons: Callaway Apex (4-PW, AW)
Shafts: AeroTech SteelFiber

Wedges: Callaway Jaws (54 degrees), Callaway Jaws Raw (60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Concept 1 Super Rat “SB 41.50 PM 18” GSS custom

Check out more photos of Peyton Manning at Memorial here.

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