Top gear and equipment stories on TOUR in 2022
6 Min Read
Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
J.R. Smith shows off new putter in BMW Championship pro-am
Throughout this year, GolfWRX.com has been hard at work on the Equipment Report, keeping PGATOUR.com readers informed on the latest equipment releases, player staff deals, “What’s in the Bag?” (WITB) changes, custom Tour designs, and the stories behind them all.
Here are five of the top gear and equipment stories on TOUR in 2022.
Tiger Woods makes big equipment changes in 2022
Woods teed it up just three times on TOUR, including the Masters, the PGA Championship and The Open Championship. In every appearance he made, however, Woods made headlines in the equipment world.
At the Masters, Woods showed up with essentially the same club setup he used when playing in the 2021 PNC Championship, but he shocked the world with a change to his footwear.
For decades, Woods has been the face of Nike Golf shoes, but due to his prior injuries and surgical repair, he wore FootJoys at the Masters instead. He explained the surprising switch-up in a press conference:
"I have very limited mobility now,” he said. “Just with the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg, I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable. That's what I've gone to. Nike's been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment … and ... we've been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again. We're still going to continue doing it, and hopefully we'll have something soon.”
At the PGA, Woods arrived with new irons and wedges in the bag. He started Thursday using two new TaylorMade P770 driving irons (2 and 3), each with True Temper’s new Dynamic Gold MID Tour Issue X100 shafts. The MID shaft was launched in 2022 and is designed for slightly higher spin and launch angles compared to the True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts he uses in his TaylorMade P-7TW irons (4-PW).
During rounds two and three at Southern Hills, though, Woods played with just one of the P770 driving irons, opting to put his usual TaylorMade M3 5-wood back in the bag. He was also using two new TaylorMade MG3 Raw wedges (56 and 60 degrees), which were newer models compared to the MG2 wedges he used at the Masters.
Then, at the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews, Woods made four changes to his bag setup:
1) He changed into a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X shaft in his TaylorMade Stealth Plus 9-degree driver.
2) He switched into a True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft in his TaylorMade P770 3-iron.
3) He continued using an MG3 Raw 60-degree wedge, but switched back into an MG2 56-degree wedge.
4) He added lead tape to the back cavity of his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter.
Check out Woods’ full WITB from the last time we saw him in action at the Open Championship at St. Andrews:
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (9 degrees)Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X
5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX
Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (56 degrees), TaylorMade MG3 Raw (60 degrees)Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
J.R. Smith’s show stopping purple Bettinardi putter
After retiring from the NBA, basketball star J.R. Smith enrolled at North Carolina A&T and joined the school’s golf team. In August, Smith played in the BMW Championship Pro-Am, and he dropped jaws with his custom purple Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 putter with star engravings on the face and a wild hosel construction.
“I’ve been fortunate to be in a situation where people want to help me, and help my golf game get better,” Smith said. “So it worked out. One of my boys who took me (to Bettinardi), he had a purple (putter). Then it was like, alright, I gotta outdo him, or we gotta match a little bit. So we both went with the purple.”
Speaking with Tom Sopic from Bettinardi’s Hive Team, GolfWRX learned that Smith visited the company’s custom fitting studio in Tinley Park, Illinois to get dialed into his 38-inch putter.
“He’s obsessed with the game of golf, and it has become a major passion in his life,” Sopic said. “He hit seven putts in a row on Quintic (a putting analysis system) that had perfect numbers in all categories right after he got his new putter. The iconic Stinger Bees on the sole are a staple within the Bettinardi brand, and a major symbol of The Hive.
“His putter is a one-of-one, with a star-engraved 1.5-degree face piece, fitting for the superstar that is J.R. Smith.”
Justin Thomas puts (another) 1-of-1 Scotty Cameron putter in play
Thomas won the PGA Championship in May with a custom Scotty Cameron T5 prototype with a “knuckle neck,” but he put an all-new Scotty Cameron T5 prototype in play at the BMW Championship last month.
Aside from the obvious aesthetic customizations – which include his personal “JT” logo – the new putter was built a half-inch shorter than his previous putter to let his arms hang more naturally.
"For me, a tendency I have with my putting is to get a little bit this way (left shoulder up) and open," Thomas said. "I've ... been playing a lot of golf with Patrick Cantlay. He obviously has very long arms and his putter is very short. (I was noticing) just how naturally his arms go on the club, and I felt like that wasn't the case for me ... and I think that has something to do with my bad tendencies.
"If I can be a little bit more comfortable at setup, then that's obviously one less factor I have to worry about."
Unbeknownst to the public, the new “JT” putter had been in the works since February. Click the link here to read the full story
Solving the mystery behind Adam Scott’s custom irons
On Tuesday at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, Adam Scott showed up to Muirfield Village Golf Club with a completely new set of blade irons, which mysteriously had only his logo on the back.
“What are those?” we wondered.
As it turned out, Scott, an equipment free agent, requested custom-made irons from multiple manufacturers, and Miura sent him these one-of-one blades made specifically for his exacting preferences.
The box of new irons from Miura showed up at Muirfield on Monday, and Scott put them into play Thursday. Speaking with GolfWRX prior to the event, he explained what he liked about the irons:
“Really it’s the sole design that’s the difference,” Scott said. “It’s just a little less bounce. They’re a little flatter and wider on the sole. My eye for a blade is very different than most of the stock blades that are being made by the companies today. I grew up with offset, which is almost a thing of the past. Even in larger-headed irons these days, there’s little offset out here. But I like it, and it’s hard to find. Titleist made me an amazing set of 681.AS irons that had the offset and were pretty much like the clubs I was using (the Titleist 680 Forged). And this set was made with the idea of less bounce than those.”
Scott, who played his way into the BMW Championship and then the TOUR Championship, has had them in the bag since the Memorial, and he spoke further on the irons at the 2022 U.S. Open with @GolfWRX on TikTok.
Scottie Scheffler signs with TaylorMade, dumps his longtime Nike fairway wood
Scheffler had an unbelievably hot start to the year, winning two PGA TOUR events before March (2022 WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational). At the time, Scheffler was an equipment free agent, so he could play any clubs he wanted.
The week of THE PLAYERS Championship, however, Scheffler announced that he signed an equipment deal with TaylorMade. While the timing seemed odd, Scheffler justified the decision by notching two more wins at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and The Masters Tournament.
He explained the TaylorMade decision to GolfWRX’s Two Guys Talking Golf podcast following his Masters victory:
“I would say first and foremost [the reason] would be the driver,” Scheffler said. “I already used the (TaylorMade P-7TW) irons for a while. I like the irons. But the (TaylorMade Stealth Plus) driver, when we did testing over the winter, I saw some pretty nice gains. It was one of those things, like, I know I’m going to use this driver, I know I’m going to use the irons, so maybe let’s see if we can work something out. Just because having consistency with their brand, obviously I trust what they do. To be part of the family and be part of the team was pretty cool for me, and so we wanted to work something out with them, and we were able to get it done. I’m happy to be part of the team.”
Scheffler made a noteworthy fairway wood switch before the Masters, too. Prior to signing with TaylorMade, he’d been using a Nike VR Pro Limited 13-degree fairway wood for years, but he switched into a new TaylorMade Stealth HL 16.5-degree.
“One of the things I’ve struggled with was actually hitting 3-woods too far, and also just not seeing all my shots,” Scheffler told GolfWRX. “These guys did something to the (Fujikura Ventus) shaft, honestly I can’t even remember what they did, but it was something with the tipping. They may have tipped it a couple extra inches and moved some weight around the head, and then started with a higher loft and bent it down…and it was a pretty seamless transition. I saw the shots I wanted to see. My mishits were more accurate with the TaylorMade than they were than my Nike.”
We spoke to Scheffler in-depth about his equipment, and what it was like to have a green jacket for the first time. Check out that full story here