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Tiger made a small tweak to his clubs this week and showed off a new golf bag.
Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news. This week’s Wall-to-Wall is brought to you by Jonathan’s partner in gear nerdiness, GOLF senior equipment editor Ryan Barath, who was on the ground at Riviera for the Genesis invitational.
Let’s kick this week off by talking about Genesis Invitational winner Jon Rahm. Though his overall gear setup hasn’t really changed since he won the Tournament of Champions in January (can you blame him?), he quietly changed the shaft in his famous Paradym Triple Diamond 3-wood.
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That might seem like small potatoes, but it qualifies as a notable development considering Rahm has used the same driver and 3-wood shaft since he started on Tour. But, after this weekend’s performance, I don’t expect we’ll see many more changes in the near future.
After an opening round that saw Tiger Woods bombing drives past him, Rory McIlroy decided to change up his driver on Friday at the Genesis and saw some impressive results.
Before Friday’s second round, Rory went from a first-generation TayloMade Stealth Plus driver to a newer Stealth 2 Plus with the same Fujikura Ventus shaft.
The reason for the switch, according to TaylorMade, was a testing session after round one that resulted in noticeable ball speed gains with the Stealth 2 Plus head. McIlroy, seeking to take advantage of the added speed, stuck the new club in his bag and never looked back.
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The switch proved to be a good one, especially when he uncorked a 388-yard drive early in the second round, which was the longest drive of the day and second longest of the entire tournament.
Rory wouldn’t let Tiger get the best of him here 😅 @McIlroyRory sends it 385 yards and gets by Tiger’s drive @TheGenesisInv. pic.twitter.com/VeimwzZiOP
It’s hard to earn praise for a top-20 finish when playing in an event alongside Tiger Woods, but it should be noted that Rickie Fowler continues to play well in 2023. Even with his good play, Fowler was looking for a small change at the top of his bag at Riviera, and he found it with a 15-degree Titleist TSR3 3-wood. The goal of the change was to help Rickie find a specific flight window, meaning we could see him change out of the club as the Tour travels to different setups. We’ll keep our eyes peeled.
One club Fowler certainly won’t be changing is his Cobra AeroJet LS driver, which helped him rank 8th in strokes gained: off the tee over the course of the tournament.
Tiger Woods is famously a creature of habit when it comes to gear, and 2023 has proven no different. At Riviera, his driver, fairway woods, wedges, and irons mostly remained the same from 2022, but he did add a new TaylorMade P-770 3-iron to replace his P7TW.
While scouting Tiger’s bag, one other detail I noticed was the water bottle pocket on his golf bag, which is logoed with the Roman Numerals “XV” to denote his 15 major wins. Also stamped into the bottom of his bag were the years of each of his Masters’ triumphs, you know, in case any of his playing competitors needed a reminder.
Former Genesis Invitational champ Adam Scott had a new custom L.A.B. putter in the bag this week, which was equipped with a new prototype putter shaft from TPT Golf.
The feedback from the L.A.B. putter team was that it not only offered one of the more stable profiles to fit Adam’s needs but it was also one of the straightest-measured broomstick putter shafts they had ever tested.
Quick-hitters: Harris English was in search of a new feel this week and the crew on the Ping truck regripped his irons with a fresh set of Golf Pride align grips. Whatever feeling English sought seemed to kick in on Sunday when he shot a final round 65 to move into a tie for 12th place.
Hideki Matsuyama seems to be on the hunt for a new feel with his driver. For the second week in a row, he went through a number of Graphite Design shafts on the range. A nugget I got from his team is that the overall shaft profiles aren’t different but the tipping is, which can make a noticeable difference from a feel perspective.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.
Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.
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