Do these TaylorMade prototype irons mean new irons are coming for Tiger Woods?
The PGA Tour enjoyed its second week in Hawaii and while the scenery at Waialae Country Club is difficult to top, gearheads will enjoy the golf equipment eye candy that was in Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Dufner’s bags. Meanwhile, more than 8,700 miles away in Abu Dhabi, Tommy Fleetwood appeared ready to move on from his old Nike VR Pro Blades with a set of irons—that might have been made with another player in mind.
Callaway’s Epic Flash driver continued its early season adoption with 21 players using a Flash or Flash Sub Zero at the Sony. Sam Burns, Kevin Kisner and Ollie Schniederjans were among those putting the club into play for the first time as was non-staffer Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese star has played Callaway drivers in the past, notably the Great Big Bertha model. Matsuyama had the movable weight in the neutral position as well as the lie angle setting on the adjustable hosel, but used the adjustable hosel to bump up his loft 1 degree from the stated 9 degrees on the clubhead.
It’s no secret that Jason Dufner sometimes struggles on the greens, making a putter change almost inevitable at some point. At the Sony Duf switched to the spaceship-like Directed Force Reno mallet. The putter, which has also been used on tour by players such as Bryson DeChambeau and Retief Goosen, relies on the theory of being able to balance the head so the face stays square to the lie angle, allowing the larger muscles to control the stroke without the small muscles in the hands interrupting the motion. The Reno also incorporates an offset grip that’s designed to encourage a forward press at address. After a good first round Dufner’s putting woes continued as he was a MDF finish in Hawaii.
When Tiger Woods put in TaylorMade’s TW Phase 1 irons, it was only natural to assume that another “phase” was coming. That next step might have been unveiled, but the irons were not in the bag of the 14-time major champion, but rather Tommy Fleetwood. The Englishman was spotted using TaylorMade blade irons stamped P*7TW during a practice round in Abu Dhabi. Whether Fleetwood puts the clubs in play remains to be seen, but he was down to his last set of Nike VR Pro Blades and had even tried to buy a set off of Paul Casey, who declined his offer. Perhaps Fleetwood is finally ready to switch, and at the very least, his consideration might be teasing an upcoming club switch by Tiger Woods.