For Adam Scott, Tiger Woods and Tony Finau, last week's Farmers Insurance Open served as the official start of their 2019 playing schedules. The event also served as an initial opportunity to put some newly added equipment to the test in PGA Tour conditions. Here were the most significant changes last week at Torrey Pines.
Jason Day tends to play well at the Farmers Insurance Open—a pair of wins and a T-2 in his five previous starts serving as evidence. So it was not without note that Day made some substantial changes to his gear at Torrey Pines. Day made his first appearance with TaylorMade’s new M6 driver and its inject-face technology, in which resin is injected behind the face to bring an otherwise non-conforming face just below the legal limit for spring-like effect. At the short end of the bag, Day added a pair of Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedges (50 and 54 degrees) to complement the 60-degree version he already used.
Adam Scott’s choice of putter is always of interest. After all, Scott switched mid-tournament at the Sony Open in Hawaii to a SeeMore putter. At the Farmers Insurance Open Scott was back in more familiar territory with a Scotty Cameron by Titleist TFB (Tour FastBack) model. Although Scott is well-known for winning the Masters in 2013 using a long putter, the one he wielded at Torrey Pines was conventional length, if not conventional loft. Scott’s putter had 6 degrees of loft (most putters have 3 or 4 degrees loft) to accommodate his new armlock-style of putting. At Torrey, the combination worked well as Scott finished second while ranking 14th in strokes gained/putting.
Tony Finau is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, currently ranking second in driving distance. Still, in seeking to improve off the tee he made a driver change at the Farmers Insurance Open, changing to Ping’s new G410 Plus model—the company’s first driver with movable weight to influence ball flight. Finau’s driver had the weight in the heel, helping to produce a draw bias. The shaft is Accra’s Tour Z X465 M5, a very stable, low-spin shaft. At Torrey Pines Finau displayed his usual distance prowess at 312.8 yards (ranked T-5), but also found the fairway with some frequency, ranking a very respectable T-24 in accuracy. Overall he was ninth in strokes gained/off the tee while finishing T-13.
Tiger Woods came to one of his favorite stomping grounds on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines armed with a fairly new arsenal of clubs, including a new set of muscleback blade irons. The clubs are TaylorMade’s P7 TW prototype, a model Tommy Fleetwood recently put in play in Abu Dhabi. Last season Woods used a TW Phase 1 model, similar in style. Like Day, Woods also had a new driver, using the company’s new M5. Woods had the movable weights both placed in the rear track with one all the way heelward and the other slightly toward the toe—a setup that would suggest he was seeking more forgiveness. In last year’s M3 model, Woods had both weights in the front-to-back track with one all the way front and the other near the back.
A new driver also was in the bag for J.B. Holmes, who used Callaway’s new Epic Flash Sub Zero. Holmes kept the movable weight in the neutral setting. Holmes kept the Fujikura Pro Series Tour Spec shaft that he employed in his previous driver. The Sub Zero is the low-spin version of a club that utilized artificial intelligence and supercomputers (running 24 hours a day, seven days a week for four weeks straight) to arrive at a face design with a series of swirls and ridges with thick and thin areas varying in atypical ways to maximize ball speed.