Scottie Scheffler used irons based off those designed for Tiger Woods to defend title in Phoenix
For all the talk about Rory McIlroy being No. 1 and Jon Rahm being on a heater, Scottie Scheffler reminded folks that over the last 12 months he’s played the best golf on the planet, defending his title at the WM Phoenix Open and reclaiming the No. 1 spot on the world ranking.
Sheffler and Nick Taylor, who matched Scheffler's final-round 65, were the primary combatants for most of the day Sunday at TPC Scottsdale, with Rahm hanging on the periphery. The difference-maker came at the par-5 13th, when Scheffler got a break when his tee shot received a nice bounce off the desert native area and into the fairway, settling 366 yards from the tee and just 202 yards to the pin. From there Scheffler struck a solid 8-iron that stopped 22 feet from the hole, from where he made the putt for an eagle 3 that put him one shot up on Taylor, who birdied the hole. It was a stunning turn as Scheffler had played the par 5s just one under par to that point. A 15-foot par save at the par-3 16th was followed by a Taylor miss for par, giving the Masters champion a two-shot cushion over the final two holes.
For the 5-iron through pitching wedge, Scheffler’s irons are TaylorMade’s P7TW model, a blade-style club based off irons used by Tiger Woods. Scheffler, who signed with TaylorMade in March of last year, gave Golf Digest his reasoning for why the irons resonate with him.
“I see all my shots with these,” said Scheffler. “If you think about how Tiger plays, he hits a lot of different shots and I felt like I had to give these irons a chance because, shoot, if Tiger can use them, they have to be good enough for the rest of us, right? I noticed I was able to do some things with these irons I couldn’t with my P730s. If you were watching me hit balls you might not notice much, but there is a definite difference in feel through the hitting area and a couple of yards in the flight. It wasn’t a huge difference, but it was significant for me. I could see a little flatter flight when trying to flight it down and could elevate it higher when trying to do that. It felt more stable, too, when trying to hit it straight.”
Scheffler used the irons to rank first in strokes gained/approach-to-the-green, grabbing nearly 10 shots on the field average. Such superb work with his irons led to only a pair of bogeys for the week, fewest in the field.
All of which resulted in Scheffler joining a list of luminaries that have defended in Phoenix, including Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Johnny Miller. Now Scheffler, again No. 1 in the world, isn’t in their stratosphere yet, but with the tear he’s been on the last 12 months, he’s already carved out a nice reputation.
The clubs Scottie Scheffler used to win the 2023 WM Phoenix Open
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (Fujikura Ventus Black 7X), 8 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2, 15 degrees
Irons (3-4) Srixon ZU85; (5-PW): TaylorMade P7TW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (50, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks prototype (60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS prototype