By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
For the first time in 17 years, Lee Westwood had a different set of shafts in his irons when he teed off on Thursday at The Barclays. Westwood had been using PING's JZ-S shafts but swapped them for True Temper's Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issued shafts on Tuesday.
According to PING Tour rep Matt Rollins, Westwood was looking to decrease spin and flatten his ball flight — something he's been working on recently with instructor Sean Foley.
After trying out a set of S55 irons, Westwood used his usual i20 irons with X100 shafts in them to test. After seeing a significant decrease in spin with the new shafts on the range, Westwood put the irons in play for a couple of practice rounds and officially put them in the bag on Thursday.
Westwood finished T25 for the tournament and T10 in greens in regulation at Liberty National.
Changes for Mickelson: Phil Mickelson was spotted using a new putter grip on his Odyssey Versa #9 on Thursday. The oversized grip had Odyssey logos and looked similar to the SuperStroke 3.0 the five-time major winner had been using for a good portion of the season.
Odyssey officials confirmed it was a prototype grip but wouldn't say if it was going to be making its way to retail anytime soon.
Mickelson used the prototype grip on Thursday and Friday before going back to an Odyssey Black Series Tour Design #9 putter with a SuperStroke 3.0 for the final two rounds. Even with the changes, Mickelson still finished the tournament T6 and sixth in strokes gained-putting (1.289).
Dustin Johnson's new putter: After an opening 72 at The Barclays, Dustin Johnson decided to put a counterbalanced TaylorMade Spider Blade putter in play for the second round. The 37-inch model featured 2 degrees of loft and a titanium Pure Roll insert.
Spider Blade marked the sixth different putter model Johnson has used this season.
PING S55 iron makes TOUR debut: Four PING staffers put the company's new S55 irons in play at The Barclays. Hunter Mahan, Derek Ernst, Richard Lee, Scott Langley all switched from S56 to S55 — the newest version of PING's tour-style blade.
According to Rollins, the PING Tour rep, all four players liked the fact that the irons flew higher, farther and were a bit easier to shape than S56 during testing.
Perry's driver broken in transit: Kenny Perry's stellar Champions Tour season took a bizarre turn at the Boeing Classic when the current Charles Schwab Cup points leader arrived at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge to find his 10.5-degree (actual loft 12 degrees) Adams Super LS had been broken at the hosel.
“I pulled my clubs out and Delta broke my driver, the one I won all of my tournaments with this year,” Perry told the Seattle Times. “It broke the head right off the shaft. I’m very upset at this point.
“I represent Southwest Airlines and it’s in a Southwest (bag), and I flew Delta out here from New York and they snapped my driver. I’m pretty bummed out.”
Perry, who won two Champions Tour majors this year with the Adams Super LS driver and a 46-inch UST Mamiya VTS Silver 60-gram X-flex shaft, was able to get the driver reshafted by Adams Tour rep Scott Kraul.
However, even with the exact same version, Perry was quick to point out that there was a difference — albeit a mental one — between the identical shafts.
“But shafts don’t duplicate,” Perry said. “As much as they say they’re the same, they’re not the same. So now I have to get my confidence back off the tee because that’s been my bread and butter this year.”
Divots: Hunter Mahan, who received a gold-plated PING Scottsdale TR Anser2 to commemorate the birth of his daughter, went back to a PING Scottsdale TR ZB-S putter. ... TaylorMade topped the driver count with 30 SLDR in play at The Barclays. ... TaylorMade Tour reps built Justin Rose a new set of RocketBladez Tour long irons to ensure he had a set with fresh grooves for the FedExCup Playoffs.