November 22, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
Rhein Gibson's 24-foot par save at The RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – After graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019, Australian Rhein Gibson officially signed with Mizuno ahead of The RSM Classic. He was recently an equipment free agent, but he’ll now be carrying a Mizuno staff bag, wearing a Mizuno hat, and using mostly Mizuno clubs.
For the 33-year-old Gibson, this isn’t his first rodeo on the PGA TOUR. He graduated in the 2015 Web.com Tour class, but failed to keep his card after the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR season. In the summer of 2019, however, a victory at the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, South Carolina helped launch Gibson back onto the PGA TOUR for this season. So far in 2019-2020, Gibson has made four cuts in six events on the PGA TOUR, with his best finish being a T33 at the Safeway Open.
Ahead of The RSM Classic, PGATOUR.COM caught up with Gibson to discuss his signing with Mizuno, and what else he has in the bag.
PGATOUR.COM: You were previously an equipment free agent through the bag and you could sign with any company you wanted. What made you choose Mizuno?
GIBSON: I was with Wilson for three years and that relationship ended, so I started the year on the Korn Ferry Tour trying the best equipment – trying everything and seeing what was best for me. I had a lot of success with Mizuno irons before; it’s actually the set I used to graduate to the PGA TOUR the first time. I called the Mizuno reps and had them build me a set of the JPX 919 Tour irons. As soon as I got them, I could tell they were awesome. The Trackman numbers were fantastic and they’re the most consistent irons I’ve ever used. That was an easy transition for me. The first two weeks out on the Korn Ferry Tour I finished 8th and 5th down in South America with them, so that validated the decision.
And yeah, I was just in a position where I could play what I wanted. It was nice because the contracts on the Korn Ferry Tour are basically non-existent. I just wanted to play good golf. My goal was to get back out here on the PGA TOUR, and having access to everything was great.
I worked into Mizuno’s driver, which was a pretty easy transition, as well. I put the ST 190 in play in Savannah, and a handful of events later I won in Greenville with it, so that was awesome; a very nice start.
My three wood (TaylorMade M2 Tour) hasn’t changed much, and I put a Srixon driving iron in the bag in Greenville.
Now that I’m part of team Mizuno, it’s just been an easy transition because I really haven’t had to change anything in my bag from what I already had, which was huge to me. I didn’t want to necessarily go to a Callaway or something where I may have had to change iron and driver. So it’s basically the set I graduated with and the set I’m really comfortable with.
PGATOUR.COM: You do have the new Mizuno driver in the bag this week. What do you think about it so far?
GIBSON: Yeah, I’ve got the new version: the ST 200. We did some testing on Monday and the ball speeds were just as good if not better than the ST 190 for me. I was getting 175-177 mph ball speed, which was great for me. It’s a little windy today, but I had a good session with it and it was flying awesome into the wind. So I’ll get out on the course and see how it goes.
PGATOUR.COM: I notice you already have the Vokey SM8 wedges in the bag, too. Are you going to go with those this week?
GIBSON: Yeah, it’s been a very easy transition. They’ve actually gone back to a profile that I like better. I know with the SM7s they wanted to play around with the CG (center of gravity) and they made the top flange really thick. For me, a profile look is big. I didn’t really enjoy that, so I instantly picked the SM8 wedges up. And the grinds are all the same, but I just like the profile a bit better. Yeah, they’re straight in the bag.
PGATOUR.COM: What about the putter? How did you end up using a Swag Golf putter?
GIBSON: Nick Venson (owner) and Tim Pyrcik (TOUR rep) are good buddies of mine. We have a really close mutual friend who’s the Korn Ferry rep, and he reached out to me. I’m kind of a geek when it comes to equipment; I like to see what’s out there and try it. Our friend called me and said, “Hey, I have a buddy who’s starting a putter company, would you be willing to have a look at some?” So, we got in contact with them and I told them what I was looking for, and the first week I used it was Knoxville last year on the Korn Ferry Tour. I fell in love with it. It’s a very clean, simple-looking putter. They started with a Newport-style with the softer edges, and have progressed into some new models now. It’s really cool to be involved with them. If I want something done, they’ll do it right away; it’s not a long process.
It’s funny, I was using a Scotty Cameron in Chicago this year for the first two rounds, and I played the late-early wave. Friday afternoon, after making the cut, I went up to Swag’s facility just outside of Chicago and messed around. They have an indoor putting area there, and they had a new shape called a Suave 2, which I’m using now. I thought it looked really good. There was one with a shaft in it that hadn’t been cut or gripped. I told Nick I was taking that one, so we built it up, got my specs done, and I put it in play for Saturday-Sunday in Chicago. Mid-event switch; I’ve been known to do that. The next week I went to Raleigh and finished 4th with it, and the following week I won in Greenville with it. I was pumped to get their first win. I was kind of their first guy out here, and to get the win for them I was really happy. I know they have Streelman out here now, and the stuff is getting out there more. It’s tough out here because, say you’re with Callaway, you’ve got to play Odyssey and whatnot, but hopefully the free agent putter guys are open to trying them out.
PGATOUR.COM: You also have the Joker putter cover. Did you watch the new movie?
GIBSON: Yeah, I did. It was alright. A little slow, but he played the part awesome. A little messed up, the storyline, but I get that’s mental health, right? But yeah, the cover is really cool. Swag is very forward thinking and innovative, so I’m happy to help them as much as I can.