May 23, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Brooks Koepka made a putter switch at THE PLAYERS and it paid off there and at the AT&T Byron Nelson. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka prefers to keep the equipment tinkering to a minimum during the season, but after missing his second cut in a three-tournament stretch, the 26-year-old figured it was time to make a putter change.
Koepka replaced his Nike Method Prototype with another Method Prototype at THE PLAYERS Championship and finished T35 with the new flat stick. The following week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he came up short in a sudden-death playoff and ranked sixth in strokes gained-putting (plus 4.775).
The big change for Koepka came down to finding a putter that produced a better roll. Koepka went from having a polymetal groove pattern on the face to an RZN Groove insert that softens feel and delivers a faster, more consistent forward roll. The RZN insert is currently found on the Method Converge putter.
"The putter we've got now just rolls a lot better," Koepka said. "It keeps rolling and rolling. It feels good. It feels good off the face, little softer, too, which helps [on] faster greens."
Other than the addition of a new insert, the head shape of Koepka's Method putter remained the same. He also replaced the Iomic black grip with a Scotty Cameron Pistolero.
DJ returns to Edel putter: For the second tournament in a row, Dustin Johnson used two putters during the course of 72 holes. At THE PLAYERS Championship, it was a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 for the first three days and Edel's The Brick during the final round.
Johnson stuck to a similar game plan at the AT&T Byron Nelson, using a Newport 2 for the first two days and The Brick for the final 36 holes.
The Brick design centers around the company's torque balanced technology that reduces head twisting during the stroke. An interchangeable weight in the heel makes it possible to alter head weight depending on personal preference and green speeds.
Looking at head-to-head putting stats, Johnson fared better with the Cameron, posting a positive strokes gained number over the first two days. That included picking up more than five shots on the field during the first round.
Over the weekend, Johnson lost nearly a stroke to the field on Saturday but gained more than two strokes during the final round with The Brick.
Even with the putter dilemma, Johnson still managed to shoot 67 on Sunday, good enough for a T-12 finish at TPC Four Seasons Resort.
PXG "driving iron": With the U.S. Open less than a month away, players are already testing out potential options for Oakmont's lengthy layout. One of those options could be a PXG 0311 "driving iron."
Over the course of the last few weeks, Matt Rollins, PXG's Tour rep, has built souped-up 0311 3 irons for a handful of players, including James Hahn and Charles Howell III.
Hahn had a 0311 3-iron built with an Aldila Rogue 110X graphite shaft that was a 1/4-inch longer than his usual length. The two-time PGA TOUR winner used the club to reach the 250-yard par-3 6th at Quail Hollow but also noted it could be in the bag for the year's second major.
Howell followed Hahn's lead at the AT&T Byron Nelson, adding the 3-iron (18.5 degrees of loft) with an Aldila Rogue 110X shaft. The other player currently playing a PXG 3-iron with a graphite shaft (104-gram UST V2 shaft) is Patrick Reed, who started using the club at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Although the 0311 is a standard long iron, the club has an internal cavity that's CNC milled before a thin, high-strength HT1770 maraging steel face is plasma welded to a hollow space between the between the body and face insert. A Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) is then injection molded into the core that provides structural stability to the entire clubhead.
PING iBlade usage: One week after PING's iBlade prototype iron debuted at THE PLAYERS Championship — Louis Oosthuizen was the only player who used them the very first week — a total of eight players put the better player iron model in play at TPC Four Seasons.
The highest finish came from Kyle Reifers, who recorded a top-10 showing in his first start with the new irons. Before this week, Reifers had used PING's S56 model for the last six years.
He hit more than 80 percent of his greens in regulation en route to his third top-10 finish of the 2015-16 season.
Notes: Brandt Snedeker used an Odyssey Works #7CH putter during the first round. ... Toulon Design unveiled a Rose Gold finish. ... TaylorMade's Spider Limited mallet is available in a milled option on TOUR.