Dustin Johnson adds a hybrid for Augusta National
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Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hybrids can help even the best players hit their long approach shots higher. That’s why Dustin Johnson took the 3-iron out of his bag this week as he seeks his second Green Jacket.
Johnson shot 69 in his opening round at Augusta National, making four birdies and just a single bogey.
Johnson replaced the club with a TaylorMade Stealth 4-hybrid with 22 degrees of loft. The club has a Project X HZRDUS RDX Black 100 TX shaft. Johnson hits both the 3-iron and Stealth 4-hybrid 245 yards, but gave the nod to the hybrid because he launches it higher.
“With par-5s being crucial scoring holes at Augusta National, DJ took out his 3-iron during practice this week and put the Stealth 4-hybrid he played back at (the Farmers Insurance Open) back in the bag,” said Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s vice president of tour operations.
Johnson switches between the 3-iron and 4-hybrid based on course conditions. While higher-lofted fairway woods and hybrids are often thought to provide the biggest benefit to players with lower swing speeds, Johnson shows that even one of the TOUR’s longest hitters can use them to his advantage.
He has four headcovers in his bag this week: a 10.5-degree Stealth Plus driver, a 16.5-degree Stealth 3HL (high launch) 3-wood, 21-degree Stealth 7-wood and the 22-degree Stealth 4-hybrid. A 4-iron is the longest in Johnson’s bag.
Johnson also used the 4-hybrid at the Farmers Insurance Open to help him hit the ball higher out of Torrey Pines’ thick rough. A TaylorMade representative said his use of the club is “infrequent,” however.
Johnson did use a 3-iron when he set the Masters scoring record two years ago, shooting 20-under 268 to win by five shots. His winning total also was the lowest score in relation to par in major history. The higher launch that a hybrid offers wasn’t necessary during that unique fall Masters, however, as the course played softer than usual.
Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.