April 13, 2015
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods made a change to his shoes and his wedges last week at the Masters Tournament. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods made headlines early in the week when he switched to a pair of older-model Nike TW 2011 shoes, but it wasn't the only gear change the 14-time major winner made at the Masters.
Woods put a new set of Nike VR Forged wide sole wedges (56 and 60 degrees) with a custom grind -- the grind was done by Nike master craftsman Mike Taylor, who has worked with Woods for years -- in play after making an adjustment to his new swing technique. After struggling with the short game in his first two starts, Woods used the new wide sole version to finish T17.
"It's my strength again," Woods said of his short game. "That's why I've busted my butt. That's why I took time off. That's why I hit thousands and thousands of shots to make sure that it's back to being my strength."
The wedges are made from 1025 carbon steel and boast Nike's high-frequency X3X grooves and a laser crosshatch pattern that increases surface texture, creating more spin from a variety of conditions.
Sandy Lyle adds a throwback: Former Masters champion Sandy Lyle attempted to turn back the clock at the Masters by adding a hickory-shafted putter and 1-iron to the bag.
The 2014 World Hickory Open champion used a center-shafted Tad Moore Chicopee Brass putter during practice rounds and liked the putter enough to put it in play. Even though Lyle missed the cut, the hickory-shafted flatstick only produced one three-putt over his two rounds.
Lyle also took a page from Jack Nicklaus' book, carrying a 1-iron at the season's first major. The long-iron in question was a Mizuno MP-H5 that had significantly more forgiveness and technology than the butter knife Nicklaus used to carry.
Rory McIlroy strengthens 3-wood loft: Rory McIlroy typically carries a 15-degree Nike Vapor Speed 3-wood; however, he decided to go with a stronger-lofted version at Augusta that could be used more frequently off the tee.
The 13.5-degree Nike Vapor Speed fairway wood gave McIlroy a secondary option off the tee that was workable and long.
In addition to the 3-wood alteration, McIlroy sported a different pair of shoes during the final round. The four-time major winner laced up a pair of limited-edition Nike Lunar Control 3 shoes that featured a white-to-black gradient on the upper and a chrome finish Swoosh design.
Ryan Moore returns to old putter: Ryan Moore has bounced between a couple Yes! putters over the years. At Augusta, Moore switched to a white Yes! Sandy 12, a double bend mallet model, and finished T12 while averaging 1.58 putts per GIR.
Zach Johnson's SeeMore putter: After using a Scotty Cameron Futura X5R at the Valero Texas Open, Zach Johnson returned to his trusty SeeMore FGP -- the same model he used for more a decade to win to 11 TOUR titles, including the 2007 Masters -- at Augusta.
"I'm not sold on anything yet," Johnson said at the Valero Texas Open. "I'm still kind of trying to figure out what's best for my stroke — and I'm confident I'll find it. I have good people on both sides. It may take some time but we'll get it squared away. I'm excited about the process."
The putter change paid off as Johnson finished T9 and averaged 1.62 putts per GIR for the tournament.
Adam Scott back to long putter: Adam Scott's run with a 49-inch Scotty Cameron Futura X long putter -- the same putter he used to win the 2013 Masters -- came to a close on Sunday afternoon.
Following a run of three events with a conventional-length Odyssey White Ice Core #7 putter, Scott opted to use the broomstick one last time at Augusta before the 2016 anchor ban went into effect.
"Putting with a longer putter is maybe the smarter thing to do," Scott said. "I don't know. It's all about the lag putting. It's such a difference in weight of club and stroke and everything. I'm just trying to figure it all out."
The putter change failed to produce the result Scott was looking for as he ended the week 2-over (T38).
Jason Day changes putters: In search of a spark on the putting green, Jason Day went back to the TaylorMade Ghost Spider Itsy Bitsy Prototype he used during the 2011 Masters.
"Have the same putter that I had when I had it here in 2011," Day said during his pre-tournament press conference, "so that should be good memories from that putter."
Day appeared to be on track after opening with 5-under 67, but he failed to get anything going over the next three days, posting only one under-par round.