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June 17 2013

2:44 PM

Equipment Roundup: U.S. Open

Lee Westwood used an Aldila Rogue shaft on his PING G25 driver at Merion. (Cannon/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

Equipment changes the week of a major championship are usually few and far between. However, that didn't stop Jason Day from pulling his TaylorMade RocketBladez 2-iron — built to 1-iron specs — and replacing it with a TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 2-iron. Day used the MC 2-iron at the Masters en route to a third-place finish. He also opted for a 54-degree TaylorMade ATV wedge that he felt was better suited for Merion's course conditions.

Those were the pre-tournament changes. Day also made a mid-tournament adjustment following the second round, swapping his TaylorMade Ghost Spider S putter for an old TaylorMade Rossa Fontana prototype he'd used in the past.
 
The reason for the switch? He wasn't comfortable with the pace of Merion's greens and felt like a change needed to be made.
 
Long irons make an appearance at Merion: Merion's tight fairways and punishing rough forced a number of players to go with 2-irons off the tee. In fact, 21 players in the field had a 2-iron in the bag at the U.S. Open, up from 10 at the Masters.
 
Rory McIlroy pulled his Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood and replaced it with a Nike VR Pro Combo 2-iron. Charl Schwartzel also went with a VR Pro Combo 2-iron, and John Senden added a TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour 2-iron to his TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB setup.
 
Putter change for Jason Dufner: In search of a putter that could handle Merion's greens, Jason Dufner went back to a Scotty Cameron Futura X prototype he used early in the season at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Dufner finished T4 at the U.S. Open with the putter in the bag, thanks in large part to an impressive final round 3-under 67.
 
Lee Westwood adds new driver shaft, putter: After watching Harris English win the FedEx St. Jude Classic with a PING Nome TR, Lee Westwood, who finished T15 for the week, decided to give the putter a try at the U.S. Open. Westwood had success with the original Nome last season, so the putter switch was a seamless transition for the Englishman.
 
Westwood also added a one-of-a-kind Aldila Rogue shaft to his PING G25 driver. According to John Oldenburg, Aldila's Vice President Engineering/Product Development, the shaft uses a very expensive, extremely stiff petroleum based carbon fiber that is typically used for aerospace applications — like satellites, where extreme stiffness and ultra-lightweight materials are required.
 
Aldila brought 24 shafts to the U.S. Open for the first time and Westwood was the first to put the new prototype in play.
 
Phil Mickelson's KBS shaft setup: Phil Mickelson didn't make any changes the week of the U.S. Open, but he did change his iron shafts in preparation for Merion's greens. Mickelson worked with Kim Braly, KBS's Director of Tour Operations and R&D, to fine tune the shafts in his long irons and wedges over the last month.
 
“Phil adjusts lies and lofts to get correct flight," Braly said. "Consequently the progression is not what most consider to be standard. He will hit 15-20 shots for each adjustment to determine if the setup works. These changes have given the club a little more life, spin and higher trajectory to help hold it on these firm U.S. Open greens."
 
Since Mickelson went to a complete set of Callaway 2013 X Forged irons at THE PLAYERS Championship — Mickelson had been using a mixed set of X Forged and RAZR X Muscleback — he opted for a KBS TOUR 125g shaft in his 3- and 4-iron and kept the KBS TOUR V2 125g shafts in the rest of his irons (5-LW).
 
Ernie Els' new putter produces top-5 finish: Odyssey's Versa paint scheme has attracted the attention of some big names this season. Keegan Bradley tried out the white and black paint job on his Odyssey Sabertooth, as did Ernie Els on a custom #7 Belly model.
 
Els liked it so much, in fact, that he had Odyssey rep Johnny Thompson make him a counterbalanced Tank #7 Mid that he put in play. Thompson made the putter for Els at the Memorial and had him test it during his off week. The Tank Els used to finish T-4 at the U.S. Open was 2 degrees flatter than his Versa 90 #7 Mid due to a recent setup change that resulted in a lie angle adjustment.
 
Divots: Nicolas Colsaerts (T-10) switched putters and went with an Odyssey Black Series 1. ... Looking for a club to hit out of the rough from over 200 yards, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and a number of other PING staffers tested out a PING G25 7-wood (20 degrees) early in the week. The club was built a 1/2 inch shorter than standard length. ... Jason Day and Darren Clarke both tested and switched to TaylorMade's R1 Black driver. ... David Toms added a new Cleveland Classic driver to the bag that had a finished loft of 12 degrees. ... Padraig Harrington put a new 19-degree Wilson D100 hybrid in the bag.
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