Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village has often been likened to the Masters and Augusta National. And while no event can truly match the Masters, the Memorial does share some similarities, such as an impeccably groomed, par-72 layout. It also shares another trait: no equipment vans are allowed on site that week, meaning that equipment switches are fewer than on most weeks on tour. Still, there were a few moves of note to consider, including some new irons for defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and some old irons for Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker.
Bryson DeChambeau switched to Cobra’s MB irons (one-length version, of course). We could explain the reason, but probably better for Bryson to explain it himself. “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. 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. … This has been working great. Into-the-wind shots are the easiest it's been for me in a long time. I'm very happy about that. And we'll see where it takes us.”
Marc Leishman has been fighting his putting a little, ranking 80th last year in strokes gained/putting and 92nd this year after ranking no worse than 44th the previous two seasons. That’s led Leishman to trying some things, although not straying too far from his love of Odyssey’s striped Versa alignment system. At the Memorial Leishman’s latest putter switch was to an Odyssey Versa Black 6, a blade-style putter with a flow-neck shaft that has the black-white-black striping on the head. Leishman also swapped out his 3-wood, going with Callaway’s new Epic Flash Sub Zero model.
Ping recently added the LST model to its G410 driver line and Michael Thompson put a 10.5-degree version of the low-spin club in play at the Memorial. But while o low spin, the club stays true to Ping’s commitment to high moment of inertia. Off-center hits in some low-spin drivers can produce an erratic ball flight. That’s because shots impacting the face a little high or toward the toe can launch with not enough spin to keep the ball flying ideally. The G410 LST, however, has three percent more moment of inertia than its G400 LST predecessor, which should help provide enough stability to keep the spin from dropping too much on such shots. Regardless of physics, the driver worked well for Thompson, who finished T-14 while ranking T-4 in driving accuracy (hitting 47 of 56 fairways) and 16th in strokes gained/off-the-tee, picking up more than two strokes on the field.
Steve Stricker went back in time—in golf equipment terms, way back in time—in making an iron change to his old Titleist 755 Forged irons, a set that debuted in 2006. The clubs feature a modest cavity similar to what you see in the current CB model, but with a red badge in back. The Ryder Cup captain might have been seeking to rekindle a little magic from the days when he used the clubs, which were some of the best seasons of his career (Stricker ranked second on the FedEx Cup in 2007 and third in 2009). The irons appeared not to have lost their ability to produce good shots as Stricker ranked T-11 in greens in regulation at 69.44 percent while finishing T-22, his best finish since T-20 at last year’s U.S. Open.