Wall-to-Wall Equipment: Martin Kaymer nearly won using Tiger’s putter — and irons

June 3, 2019
Martin Kaymer's putter looks a lot like a certain 15-time major winner's iconic flatstick.

Bryson putter and irons

Rose TPT

Moore irons and putter

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, that includes Martin Kaymer’s Tiger Woods putter, Bryson DeChambeau’s big changes and Steve Stricker’s 13-year-old irons. 

Be like Tiger

Martin Kaymer’s win drought continued after coming up short to Patrick Cantlay at the Memorial. But the result had nothing to do with a balky putter — something that’s plagued the 34-year-old in recent years — after finishing second in the field in strokes gained: putting.

Take a closer look at Kaymer’s putter and one thing becomes apparent: It looks a lot like the iconic Newport 2 GSS currently being used by another major winner: Tiger Woods. During this year’s PGA Championship, Scotty Cameron Tour reps gave players an opportunity to test prototype versions of a Newport 2 head currently in the works.

Even Tiger took a minute to look the putter over and was impressed with the overall appearance and shaping. That’s because Kaymer’s putter looks eerily similar to Tiger’s flatstick — all the way down to the sharper lines, pronounced heel and neck position.

Kaymer putted like Woods for a good portion of the week, burying nearly everything once he reached the putting surface.

“I think it’s one of those times, similar to Pinehurst, where I didn’t miss many putts within 10, 12 feet,” Kaymer said. “Obviously, you need that in order to win on the PGA Tour. I put myself in a good position.

“… I worked really hard on the short game. I worked really hard on the putting over the last two or three years, and particularly over the last four or five months.”

The 350-gram Newport 2 is made from German Stainless Steel (GSS) — same as Tiger’s putter — giving it a distinct sound that Kaymer prefers. He also liked the way the tri-sole soled the head at address.

The tri-sole design has been a part of the Cameron line since the late ’90s and allows the center section of the head to be soled at address to promote a smooth takeaway and follow through.

Of course, the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter isn’t the only Tiger-inspired club in Kaymer’s bag. He recently added a set of TaylorMade P7TW irons — a muscleback blade designed specifically for Woods — this season. The two-time major winner has an impressive resume in his own right, but if you’re going to emulate the gear used by another player, it’s not a bad idea to choose a 15-time major winner.

Bryson’s blades

Entering the week on “a pretty big low,” as he told the media, Bryson DeChambeau made two noticeable changes at the Memorial, replacing his Sik Flo putter with a custom Odyssey EXO #7CH and Cobra One Length irons with a set of King Forged MB blades.

DeChambeau had the muscleback blades built at the same length as his cavity-back One Length irons (37.5 inches) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts and JumboMax Ultralite XL grips.

Bryson DeChambeau tested the Odyssey putter on Wednesday.
Jonathan Wall

“I love the Forged One Lengths,” DeChambeau said. “The only difference that we found is a little bit more consistency in the spin rate. And that’s just because it’s a smaller blade. Personally, for me, I think there’s not as big of a change in the gear effect, I think.

“That’s what I hypothesize right now. And the smash factor isn’t necessarily the same as my Forged One Lengths. The Forged One Lengths are maybe a little more consistent around the board, but the spin rate changes. In windy conditions, I can’t consistently know what’s going to come out because of the spin change. Into-the-wind shots are the easiest it’s been for me in a long time.”

Back to TPT

Honma’s Vizard FD-7X has been Justin Rose’s driver shaft of choice since signing with the equipment manufacturer in January. Rose chose to change things up at the Memorial after conducting shaft testing early in the week with three TPT shafts (two low launch and one mid launch). The shaft Rose selected is a heavier version of the low launch model he played previously and offered a tighter dispersion with an additional 10 yards of distance during testing.

TPT was so intent on putting their best foot forward with Rose during testing, they sent a team from Switzerland — where the shaft manufacturer is based — to be on site at Muirfield Village for the range session.

Kicking it old school

Steve Stricker doesn’t even remember the last time he used Titleist’s 755 Forged irons in competition. But honestly, it doesn’t really matter. What Stricker does remember is the role these decade-plus old, beat up irons played in resurrecting his career.

Following a six-year winless drought, Stricker found the winner’s circle at Westchester Country Club, in 2007, for the fourth time in his career. After turning 40, Stricker would go on to win five times in the next two-and-a-half years with 755 Forged in the bag. There’s a reason why he’s kept these particular clubs in his home office instead of an unmarked trash bin with hundreds of other throwaways.

Stricker would eventually bench the irons in 2010 before going on an extended run with Titleist’s 710 AP2’s, but he always kept them on hand in case of an emergency. Stricker didn’t realize it at the time, but a bizarre chain of events earlier this year would eventually lead him back to his old irons at the Memorial Tournament.

During the Valspar Championship, Stricker contemplated using new Titleist irons, but he wanted the clubs to be built with KBS Prototype shafts from an old set.

“I was going to put them right into a new Titleist head,” Stricker said. “But I took them out and the tips were all bent, so I couldn’t use them anymore. It was a one-off shaft [KBS] made that I’d been using for six or seven years, and they don’t know what it was.”

Over the next few months, Stricker would use 710 AP2, 718 CB and 718 AP2 — he won his first Champions Tour major with 718 AP2 — but none of the irons seemed to fit what he was looking for.

While pouring over old video of his swing recently, Stricker noticed he was using 755 Forged in the footage, which led him to dust off the set and give them another shot.

Not only are the irons more than a decade old (first released in 2006), they still have the original satin Project X shafts.

“I’ve had some success with those heads, so I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to put them back in and see how it goes,’” Stricker told GOLF.com. He finished the week at 5-under, good for a T22 result.

Moore spin

Ryan Moore’s search for more spin led him to add a set of Tour-only PXG 0311 ST prototype irons recently. At the moment, Moore is the only player on Tour using the compact, milled blades that feature a sharper toe and the company’s tungsten screws along the sole.

Tour seeding

Titleist’s tour seeding and validation process commenced at the Memorial for two highly anticipated products: 2019 TS hybrids and U-Series utility irons. The Tour-only release offers players the chance to provide their feedback and put the clubs in play before the retail launch.

Titleist Tour reps fit players into two TS3 hybrids (Charley Hoffman and Robert Stretch) and seven U500 utility irons for Ben An (2), Bud Cauley (3), Charles Howell III (4), Joost Luiten (2), Cam Smith (3), Jordan Spieth (4) and Peter Uihlein (3).

Spieth highlighted the launch and offset of the U500 versus the T-MB as the reason for the switch. Cauley registered more speed, less spin, higher launch and five yards more distance with U500 over T-MB.

Three’s company

Ping saw Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley and Michael Thompson insert the company’s G410 driver at the Memorial. Thompson switched to the low-spin LST version after cracking his G400 LST the previous week; Oosthuizen opted for LST as well after seeing more ball speed and adding Mitsubishi’s Diamana RF shaft. Keegan Bradley chose the Plus model.

Quick-hitters: Rickie Fowler tweaked his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter at Colonial but was photographed with his backup at Memorial. … Phil Mickelson used two Callaway Epic Flash drivers and wound up missing the cut. … Contested outside Columbus, TaylorMade designed a Tour-only Ohio State Buckeye headcover for the Memorial. … Harold Varner III signed a multi-year metalwoods, putter and staff bag agreement. … Making his pro debut, Justin Suh was unveiled as a Puma staffer (shoes and apparel). … Haotong Li posted photos of a new Bettinardi Hexperimental mallet. … Jennifer Kupcho made her pro debut at the U.S. Women’s Open as a Ping staffer.