As Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson prepare to go head-to-head on Friday at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, the equipment each player has in the bag will be a secondary storyline during the 18-hole showdown. Considering there’s $9 million on the line, it’s assumed neither player will make significant changes to their setup in advance of The Match.
Here’s a look at what both players should have in the bag.
Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ White Board 73TX shaft), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M3 (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ White Board 83TX shaft), 13 degrees
5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ White Board 83TX shaft), 19 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade TW Phase1 Prototype (3-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (56 and 60 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS
Notes: Over the course of the year, it was Woods who opted to completely overhaul his equipment, beginning with TaylorMade’s M3 driver at the Farmers Insurance Open. In the months that followed, he would insert the company’s M3 fairway woods, TW-Phase1 prototype irons — based on the specs of his Nike VR Pro Blade irons — and company’s Milled Grind wedges.
Woods also went through four different driver shafts (Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White, Matrix OZIK TPHDe, Tensei CK Pro Orange and Diamana D+ White Board) along the way in an attempt to tighten up a part of his game that at times held him back. What ultimately solved Woods’s woes off the tee was a Diamana D+ White Board shaft he used up until the 2013-14 Tour season.
“It’s a feeling that I know and I used to use it for a number of years,” Woods said of the shaft, which was also added to his 3- and 5-wood. “I know the graphics have changed a little bit but it’s basically the same shaft. Went back to something that I knew and had success with, and it’s turned out pretty good.”
The final piece of the puzzle proved to be the most important, as Woods shelved his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter — arguably the most iconic club in the history of the sport — for TaylorMade’s TP Black Copper Ardmore 3 mallet at Quicken Loans National. It was just the second time in Woods’ career that he’d used something other than an Anser-style blade in competition. TaylorMade’s TP Black Copper Juno made a brief appearance before Woods went back to his iconic blade during the FedExCup Playoffs. Everything clicked from that point forward, as he closed the season by winning the Tour Championship with the Newport 2 in the bag.
“I’ve hit hundreds of millions of putts,” Woods said of the Newport 2. “I’ve had it since ’99. I’ve hit putts with it. I just — my body just remembers it. When I go away from it — and, you know, when I was using the Nike putter I always bring it out and hit putts with it. Sometimes it works but it just feels very familiar to me.”
Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (Project X HZRDUS T1100 shaft), 9 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (Mitsubishi Chemical Fubuki J shaft), 13.5 degrees
Irons: Callaway Epic Pro (4-iron; KBS Tour V 125 shaft), Callaway X Forged 18 (5-7; KBS Tour V 125 shafts), Callaway Apex MB 18 (8-PW; KBS Tour V 125 shafts)
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (56, 60 and 64; KBS Tour V 125 shafts)
Putter: Odyssey Versa #9 White or Odyssey Prototype
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Notes: Compared to the glacial pace Woods has historically taken when it comes to equipment changes, Phil Mickelson falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. Mickelson has been more than willing to test equipment and make changes during his career, especially if he felt a particular club or setup gave him an advantage over the field.
Some of the equipment highlights have included winning the 2006 Masters with two drivers, employing a custom-made “Phrankenwood” during the 2013 edition at Augusta National and using two lob wedges (60 and 64 degrees) on a regular basis.
When it comes to Mickelson’s current setup, most of the club changes were made the end of last year in advance of the Presidents Cup, where he debuted a mixed set of Callaway X Forged 18 and Apex MB 18 irons. Two sports hernia surgeries kept him from playing again until the CareerBuilder Challenge, where he green-lighted Rogue Sub Zero metalwoods.
If there’s one club in the bag that’s a question mark entering the match, it’s the putter. Mickelson is reportedly still deciding between his usual Odyssey Versa #9 White-Black-White and a 34-inch #9 prototype with a two-tone shaft — likely indicating two different materials — he unveiled last month in Napa.