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Equipment Report
  • EQUIPMENT

    Dustin Johnson explains why he switched drivers mid-event at the Masters

  • Dustin Johnson finished T2 at the 2019 Masters. (David Cannon/Getty Images)Dustin Johnson finished T2 at the 2019 Masters. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson – who finished T2 in the 2019 Masters – played his first two rounds of the event using a TaylorMade M5 driver, but he played the weekend using a TaylorMade M6 driver. It’s not often you see a player change drivers mid-event, but this wasn’t some mastermind strategy based on course conditions or pin placements, however.

Johnson, competing to win his first green jacket, noticed something was amiss with his TaylorMade M5 driver during the second round of the Masters on Friday.

Johnson, competing to win his first green jacket, felt something was amiss with his TaylorMade M5 driver during the second round of The Masters on Friday, so he opted to use his three wood for the remainder of the second round. He played the remainder of that round, sans driver, at 3 under par.

After noticing the flattened face of his driver during competition on Friday, he opted to use his three wood for the remainder of the second round. He played the remainder of that round, sans driver, at 3 under par.

Following the driverless second round, Johnson requested TaylorMade club builder Wade Liles build him up some new replacement drivers. Liles, for his part, made Johnson two TaylorMade M5 drivers and two TaylorMade M6 drivers to test before his third round. Of course, most golfers would request a new driver that exactly replicates their gamer driver, but Johnson has already won in 2019 using both the M5 and M6 head models, so he’s comfortable switching between models.

“I like both the M5 and the M6,” Johnson told PGATOUR.COM. “I like them both. I’ve won with both of them. They both perform very, very similar. I liked the M6 better when I was testing them on the range [at the Masters on Saturday], so we went with that.”

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The head models weren’t the only differences between the two drivers, however. The TaylorMade M5 driver he started the week with was equipped with a Fujikura Speeder Evolution II Tour Spec driver shaft and measured at a D4 swing weight. The TaylorMade M6 driver he switched to on Saturday, however, was equipped with a custom black Fujikura Ventus 6X shaft that had a swing weight of D6. Fujikura says Johnson’s black-colored prototype (versus the navy-colored retail model) is a lower-launching and lower-spinning version.

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According to Liles, the heavier swing weight allows the shaft to flex a bit more and allows Johnson to feel the head better. The new TaylorMade M6 driver also had a fade-bias because Johnson prefers the ball to tail to the right off the tee for greater control.

Despite the driver chaos, Johnson finished the Masters tied for second place after playing his weekend rounds with the new driver at 6 under (70-68).