Wall-to-Wall Equipment: Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama reunite with old friends

August 12, 2019
Hideki Matsuyama returned to Graphite Designs Tour AD-DI shaft.

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 roundup is highlighted by Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama returning to familiar gear, recent adjustments for Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods’ new sand wedge. 

Hello, old friend

Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama didn’t coordinate their equipment changes at the Northern Trust, but it seems fitting that two of the PGA Tour’s biggest club tinkerers just happened to swap driver shafts and putters at the same time. Not only that, Johnson and Matsuyama returned to familiar products that have served them well in the past.

For Johnson, it meant reinserting Fujikura’s Speeder Evolution 661 driver shaft and TaylorMade’s Spider Tour Black mallet. Speeder has been Johnson’s shaft of choice going all the way back to college, and he only recently made a change at this year’s Masters to a Fujikura Ventus “LT” prototype.

“He’s tried other models periodically over the years but always come back to the 2.0 shaft,” said TaylorMade Tour rep Keith Sbarbaro. “There’s some familiarity there that he likes, not to mention it gives him the flight he wants off the tee.”

Spider Tour Black putter is the original mallet Johnson started using during the 2016 BMW Championship. Over the last year, he’s alternated between different mallets and blades in an attempt to find something that clicked.

Matsuyama went the same route as Johnson, returning to a driver shaft (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI) and putter (Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS) that have worked well in the past. Matsuyama traded in Graphite Design’s Tour AD-GP for the AD-DI he used almost exclusively for years.

The Newport 2 GSS “ace” putter replaced a T22 Teryllium Newport 2 prototype Matsuyama employed briefly during the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Still searching

Bryson DeChambeau chose to go through a “hard reset” leading up to the first leg of the playoffs in New Jersey. That meant making changes to his equipment after admitting he couldn’t “progress any further than what I was able to” with the previous setup.

“I felt like I was working on my golf swing hard enough and I just wasn’t seeing results,” he said. “And so at that point in time, when you see that, out of your game, it’s like, okay, let’s go and see how we can make some clubs that can be more beneficial to me and so that’s what we did last week. We found some very interesting results that will be of future help to amateur golfers across the world.”

DeChambeau wouldn’t divulge what he’s working on at the moment, but he did confirm a few changes that were made to the current setup — namely the driver and irons. DeChambeau went back to Cobra’s F9 Speedback driver and lowered the loft from 7.5 degrees to 6 degrees; he also positioned more weight in the heel to produce a lower launch with a right-to-left ball flight.

DeChambeau was also able to tighten the right-to-left dispersion on his Cobra King MB irons by switching back into True Temper’s Dynamic Gold X7 shaft. The 5-time Tour winner had been using the S400 product since the Masters.

“Just trying to get it tighter on both ends of the spectrum and that’s what we were able to do,” he said. “[T]ighten up the dispersion with the X7 [shafts] and we tightened up the length discrepancy with the muscle-backs,” he said.

One change for Woods

While Tiger Woods continued on with a 60-degree TaylorMade Milled Grind lob wedge at Liberty National, he made the decision to change out the sand wedge recently. The Milled Grind 2 in Woods’ bag debuted on Tour at the 3M Open and offers a new head design and texture on the grooves. Woods’ raw 56-degree, however, appears to have a similar shape but with more traditional grooves (no visible face texture) that are already rusting.

Considering Woods has been using the same specs for more than 17 years, we can assume the one-off “TW grind” is still a part of the new prototype. Woods’ 56-degree typically has a dual sole with heavy heel relief. The sole has 12 degrees of overall bounce but 24 degrees in the leading edge.

Finding an Ancer

Abraham Ancer made a run at his first PGA Tour title with two putters in the bag. Ancer opened the week with Odyssey’s Stroke Lab #7, but a poor performance on the greens — he lost 3.39 strokes with the putter during the first round — led to an immediate shakeup. Ancer replaced the putter with Odyssey’s White Hot RX #5 (Stroke Lab shaft) and used it the rest of the way en route to a second-place showing.

Back to black

Justin Thomas and the rest of Titleist’s staffers in the field at Liberty National were sporting updated staff bags. The new version is almost completely black, aside from the red trim and white Titleist script. Expect the staff bags to hit retail in the coming months.

Getty Images

Quick-hitters: Jon Rahm began using a TaylorMade Spider X Copper mallet. … Cameron Champ switched to Project X’s HZRDUS Smoke Green 6.5 70TX shaft (tipped 1.5 inches) in his Ping G410 LST driver. He found the shaft eliminated his left miss. … Graphite Design’s new Tour AD XC (“Xtra Carry”) shaft debuted in New Jersey. The soft handle and stiff mid/tip sections promote a low-to-mid launch and low spin. The midsection and tip are reinforced with a sturdy Torayca M40X carbon-fiber pre-preg. … Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy added 19-degree TaylorMade M5 5-woods.