August 12, 2022
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Justin Thomas has finished in the top-10 nine times so far this season on the PGA TOUR. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Late in a major-winning season may seem like an odd time to make an equipment change, but Justin Thomas has a new driver in the bag at this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.
This week at TPC Southwind, where Thomas won the 2020 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, is Thomas’ first with Titleist’s new driver. Why change now?
Titleist first brought the TSR drivers out on TOUR at the Travelers Championship, which Thomas had to withdraw from because of a back injury. He had the new driver at home but wasn’t able to sufficiently practice with the club before back-to-back events in Scotland because he wanted to rest his back. With three weeks off after The Open, he was able to put the new club through its paces and was ready to debut it this week.
“The biggest difference is the spin,” Thomas said after his first-round 67 in Memphis. “When I heel it, it doesn’t spin crazy high and when I toe it, it’s somehow spinning a little more. It’s unbelievable in terms of misses.”
Mishits on the heel of a driver tend to have more spin while misses on the toe tend to have less. Consistent launch conditions were one reason Thomas made the change, said Titleist tour rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck. Thomas also saw an uptick in ball speed, according to Van Wezenbeeck, and liked the TSR3’s “classic shaping” and “clean look.”
Thomas is using a 10-degree Titleist TSR3 with a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX driver. The head is on the D1 setting, which takes three-quarters of a degree of loft off the face. Decreasing the loft also opens the face, which is a look at Thomas prefers.
“I like it being a little bit open,” Thomas said. “I don’t like when I can’t see a lot of face because then I feel like I have to get it up in the air and then I start getting underneath it and that gets the two-way miss going. I feel like when I’m driving it my best, although I like to work it both ways, I feel like I aim at something and rip it and it goes pretty straight and falls right. Kind of letting the openness in the club let it fade a little bit.”
Thomas entered the week at No. 8 in the FedExCup standings after a season that included his second PGA Championship win and top-10s in half his starts. He was sixth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+1.5) on Thursday. He’s trying to join Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners of the FedExCup. Thomas won his first FedExCup five years ago, the same year that he won his first PGA Championship.