PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Justin Rose isn't the first player to reach No. 1 in the world and change equipment brands. But he may be the first to cite contract flexibility as one of the key reasons he chose to leave TaylorMade after 20 years for a relative unknown in Honma. Unlike Rose's previous deal with TaylorMade, which required him to play a full bag of the brand's clubs plus the ball, Honma offered up a 10-club deal, not including the ball, that allowed the 38-year-old the opportunity to tinker with four clubs in his bag and continue to play his current TaylorMade golf ball. Rory McIlroy was the last player to change equipment as the top-ranked player in the world when he inked a mega-deal with Nike that included equipment and apparel. Using 14 new clubs and a different golf ball for the first time, McIlroy struggled to find consistency on the course during the 2013 season. Rose will hope to avoid a similar slow start as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start of 2019 at the Desert Classic. One thing Rose has going in his favor is the fact that he won't have to worry about breaking in 14 different clubs.
Picking up speed with the driver hasn't been an issue for Rose during testing. During a recent session in California, he saw an additional three to four miles per hour ball speed on the launch monitor with the TW747 model. He's also taken the time to learn as much as he can about the design, adjusting the face angle and weights to find a suitable setup. "It was the first time I've really ever tinkered with a club, in terms of face position and moving the heavy weights to the front," Rose said. "I began to dial in the driver. Obviously, there was so much functionality at TaylorMade that I got really good with it. But the speed is what made my eyes light up with the new driver."
Forgot to post last night but here’s a look one of Honma’s new ad spots. ? pic.twitter.com/LbhxPBViS0— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) January 15, 2019