History will remember the 2017 U.S. Open for the near-flawless 5-under 67 Brooks Koepka shot to win his first major championship at Erin Hills. But there's an equipment side-story that's worth remembering as well.
Prior to last year, Koepka was a member of Titleist's Tour staff before departing at the start of the 2016 season to join Nike Golf. However, the multi-year equipment deal was short-lived following the Swoosh's announcement last August that it was exiting the hard-goods industry to concentrate strictly on golf apparel.
No longer under contract with the company for gear -- he's still under contract for apparel -- Koepka opted to forego signing with another manufacturer and build his own bag setup. He made changes during the FedExCup Playoffs, re-inserting the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 SLT T10 putter that was in the bag for his first PGA TOUR title at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Other equipment would soon follow, including the addition of TaylorMade woods, Mizuno irons, Vokey wedges and a Titleist golf ball. Every club played a key role during the win, but it's the Mizuno JPX 900 Tour irons that have the most interesting backstory.
According to Jeff Cook, Mizuno's PGA TOUR manager, the company created the JPX 900 Tour with Koepka in mind, in the hopes that the clubs could sway him to play their irons when his deal with Titleist came up.
"Those irons were designed for Brooks, from the shaping down to the colors we used," Cook said. "We wanted to give it our best shot and knew the best way to get his attention was to create a set for him."
While he didn't play the iron initially after signing with Nike, Koepka decided to give them a try when the company pulled out of the equipment industry. Cook reached out to Koepka and his manager to sell them on the clubs and the fact that they were designed for the now newly minted major winner. Not long after the call, Mizuno sent Koepka a set that was built at standard length and a half-degree upright.
"We only sent him those irons," Cook said. "He's not a huge gear nerd. He just wanted to test them and see how they performed. Knowing that we made those with him in mind, I figured they had a good chance against whatever else he was testing."Brooks Koepka hit 17 of 18 greens in the final round Sunday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Koepka's irons were dialed-in the entire week at Erin Hills, especially during the final round, where he found 17 of 18 greens in regulation and hit darts on 15 and 16 that set up two key birdies.
Based on the way Koepka struck his irons all week, many would assume the clubs won't leave his bag anytime soon. However, they may be gone as soon as his next start.
"Brooks reached out to me on Tuesday and said he wanted a new set of irons," Cook said. "He said he needed a fresh set, so this may be it for those clubs."
Koepka only practices with odd-numbered irons and had apparently worn out some of the clubs in the set. If it's the last round for Koepka's irons, at least they are going out on top.
Cook also hinted that they have something in the works that could replace Koepka's Nike Vapor Fly Pro 3-iron.
"I told him that we have something for him," Cook said. "It's coming out soon and as soon as we have parts we're going to send him something. I think it's going to be a great fit for his game."
Here's a look at Koepka's entire equipment setup.Get an in-depth look into what's in Brooks Koepka's bag below. (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)
Driver: TaylorMade M2 2016 (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana D+ 70TX shaft), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M2 2017 3HL (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana D+ 80TX shaft), 16.5 degrees
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3-iron; Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec X shaft), Mizuno JPX-900 Tour (4-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 (52-10 F-Grind and 56-12 F-Grind degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts), Titleist Vokey Design SM4 TVD (60 M-Grind degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 SLT T10
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x