Why Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson made major equipment tweaks at the U.S. Open
Even though it was the U.S. Open, a fair number of big-name players—including World Nos. 1 and 2 Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas—made some major tweaks to their bag for the year’s second major. Whether it was new drivers, putters or simply a different shaft or putter loft, the game’s best attempted to make sure their 14 clubs stood the best chance to take on Shinnecock Hills.
Titleist unveiled its new TS2 and TS3 drivers at the U.S. Open and found a number of immediate takers. Chief among them was Justin Thomas, who put a 9.5-degree TS3 in the bag. “I first tested it at the Players,” said Thomas. “We were able to do some testing off-site and hit some balls with it. I like the feel of it. Kind of tweaked it a little bit to get a little bit different feel off the club to get it exactly where I wanted. It has a little bit more spin, which is good for me. … It just gives me that little bit of the ball staying in the air, and I'm able to control it a little bit more. It's a little bit faster, which is always good.” Others changing into the new driver included Adam Scott (MC), Cameron Smith (TS2), Webb Simpson (TS3), Rafa Cabrera Bello (TS3) and Chesson Hadley (TS2).
Dustin Johnson didn’t change his driver, but had a new shaft in his TaylorMade M4. Johnson swapped out of the Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 he used during his win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and in its place was a 75-gram Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5. Johnson also uses the same model shaft in his 3-wood.
Another player tinkering with the driver was Hideki Matsuyama, who has been bouncing around drivers all year. In fact, early in the week at the U.S. Open Matsuyama practiced with a Callaway Great Big Bertha, a driver he has used in the past. By Thursday’s opening round, however, the Japanese star was in Ping’s G400 LST model (8.5 degrees). The LST is Ping’s low-spin version of its newest driver.
At the other end of the bag, Sergio Garcia changed putters, switching to an Odyssey EXO Rossie S. Garcia tested the putter leading up to the U.S. Open, and liked the Rossie head shape because of its rounder profile, which works well with his backstroke, where he’s looking to add a little more arc and bring it back more to the inside. The S-neck hosel also suited his eye as did the feel of the White Hot Microhinge insert.
Two former major champions changed the loft on their putters in a effort to combat the bentgrass/poa-annua greens. Jason Day upped the loft on his TaylorMade Spider Tour Red putter from 2.5 to 3 degrees, and Louis Oosthuizen had a new Ping Vault 2.0 Voss built with an additional degree of loft (bringing it to 4.5 degrees) to test.