Changes coming for Tiger?Trying to predict Tiger Woods's bag setup for the new year is a favorite pastime for many gearheads. Before last week, the early guess was a couple TaylorMade M5/M6 metalwoods following a season where Woods had 14 new clubs in play at one point. For someone who tends to go at his own pace when it comes to accepting new gear, Woods broke all of the historical trends in 2018. Maybe that's why it shouldn't come as a shock that he's considering overhauling his irons less than a year after he broke in TaylorMade TW-Phase1 prototypes for the first time at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Woods was originally seen with a new set of TaylorMade P7TW prototypes — the same set Tommy Fleetwood was gaming in Abu Dhabi — at a company photo shoot last month, which led some to wonder if the irons had any staying-power in the bag. The answer to that question appears to be a resounding "yes," after Woods showed up to a Nike event outside of Houston recently with them in the bag. We'll need to wait until the middle of this week before confirming Woods's setup, but based on what's transpired recently, chances are good he'll have some new irons in there.
Tiger still using TaylorMade P7TW irons during the event. ??? https://t.co/k16BppRSlP— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) January 20, 2019
Putter piques Rose's interestJustin Rose's new equipment went beyond the new Honma clubs receiving most of the press at the Desert Classic. Rose chose to work with Axis1 Golf — he confirmed the two sides had been working behind the scenes on a putter for the last 18 months — on a custom winged mallet featuring the company's torque-free design. The unique design places the center of gravity right on the center of the face and aligned with the axis of the shaft to keep the face square at impact, improving accuracy and consistency.
Koepka making movesAs an equipment free agent, Brooks Koepka doesn't have to worry about inserting a new driver or set of irons to satisfy a contract. It's because of the freedom he enjoys with his clubs that he only made one significant change last season, replacing his TaylorMade M3 driver with the M4 version prior to the U.S. Open. Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons. Koepka used his JPX 900 Tour irons to win three major championships, so the new set has some big shoes to fill. Koepka offered feedback on the JPX 919 Tour design, including the thinner topline that's based on his visual preferences.
Streelman's SwagJustin Rose wasn't the only player in the Desert Classic field with a new putter deal. Kevin Streelman, who was born and raised in Winfield, Illinois, chose to sign a putter-only agreement with Chicago-based startup Swag Golf. He debuted an Anser-style Handsome Too prototype that, like Rose's Axis1 putter, was custom-made to his exact specifications.
Mickelson's ball receives tech upgradeCallaway's Triple Track Technology was originally introduced on the ERC Soft golf ball, but that didn't stop Phil Mickelson from giving the design a try on his Callaway Chrome Soft X during the tournament week. The blue and red lines on the side of the ball utilize Vernier acuity, the same visual technology used to land planes on aircraft carriers.
According to Callaway, the technology improves alignment, compared to the regular side stamp found on many of today's golf balls, particularly when it comes to putting accuracy. Mickelson opened with 60 but came up one short to Adam Long in his first start of 2019.
Phil debuted @callawaygolf’s Triple Track Technology on his Chrome Soft X. Same visual tech (Vernier Hyper Acuity) used to land plans on aircraft carriers. Helps with putting accuracy, too. pic.twitter.com/2340gcFjgi— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) January 20, 2019