Matthew Wolff met the media for the first time as a professional a little more than two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship and was asked about whether he felt he and some of his fellow rookies could mirror the early accomplishments of players such as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
“I believe that we can be the best players in the world,” he said, in matter-of-fact fashion. “I believe that in myself and I think that's the most important thing. To start with that belief, like I'm sure Justin and Jordan and all of them thought when they came out on tour as well.”
Fast forward to this week’s 3M Open and Wolff put forth a display Spieth and Thomas would highly approve of. Following up a third-round 62 with a final-round 65, Wolff won in just his third professional start when he eagled the par-5 18th with a 26-foot putt from the fringe to down Bryson DeChambeau and fellow rookie Collin Morikawa by one shot.
“I just needed to be me,” Wolff said after the third round. “At the end of the day, I belong out here, and I don't need to change anything in my game to play with the guys out here.”
While he might not need to change anything in his game, Wolff did make two significant changes to his equipment at TPC Twin Cities, putting in a new TaylorMade M5 driver and 3-wood in the bag, replacing the M6 model in both. In the case of the driver (which has 8 degrees loft with a Graphite Design Tour AD TP-7 TX shaft), Wolff felt his previous driver was spinning a bit too much and had a tinge of draw bias. The M5 killed the unwanted spin and allowed him to more easily hit a cut off the tee when he wanted to.
The move helped Wolff rank first in strokes gained/tee to green, picking up 13-plus strokes on the field. Still, although Wolff changed two clubs, he was adamant about not switching equipment companies when it came time to sign an endorsement deal.
“Just stick to what you know,” he said at the Travelers. “That's why I stayed with TaylorMade. I've been playing them since probably seventh grade, 12 years old, something like that. That's what I love to use and I feel most comfortable with. … There are a lot of things that are changing in my life, a lot of things changing from amateur golf to professional golf, so I’d like to keep as many things as I can under my control.”
Under control. Like at the 14th Sunday, where Wolff hit his TaylorMade Milled Grind sand wedge 120 yards out of the rough near the hazard to within 10 feet then made the putt with his TaylorMade Spider X putter, then followed it up with another sand wedge from 120 on the par-4 15th to three feet for another birdie. And then, of course, the putt on 18.
Those birdies and the eagle helped lead to one more big change: the moniker of PGA Tour winner and all that comes with it. “I just proved that I could be out here,” he said afterward.
Indeed he did.
What Matthew Wolff had in the bag at the 3M Open
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: TaylorMade M5 (Graphite Design Tour AD TP-7 TX), 8 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M5, 15 degrees
Irons (2): TaylorMade P760; (4-PW): TaylorMade P750
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X