Week in and week out, the equipment scene shifts on the PGA Tour. At The American Express in La Quinta, Calif., that meant new irons for Brooks Koepka, new iron shafts for Rickie Fowler and an equipment contract for one of the game’s new pros. Looking ahead, Jason Day appears to have a very different bag of clubs heading to the Farmers Insurance Open.
Day’s equipment overhaul
Although Jason Day’s absence from TaylorMade’s holiday card indicated he would no longer be with the company for the coming year, a report in The Australian sheds addition light on what might be in the 12-time PGA Tour winner’s bag when he tees it up this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which he won in 2015 and 2018.
According to the report, Day will use a Ping driver, TaylorMade fairway woods, Mizuno irons, Artisan wedges and an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. Golf Digest has learned the irons are Mizuno’s JPX921 Tour, and it stands to reason the driver would be Ping’s new G425. At the Masters in November Day used a TaylorMade SIM Max 3-wood.
As for the wedges, Artisan’s Mike Taylor (who for years worked on Tiger Woods’ clubs for Nike) said Day reached out via Instagram and they did some testing recently, which resulted in Day better controlling his launch and distance with the clubs.
Day is an equipment free agent for the first time since turning pro, having been with TaylorMade throughout his PGA Tour career. Still, there’s something to be said about playing whatever you want. In 2018, all four majors were won by equipment free agents: Patrick Reed (Masters), Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open and PGA) and Francesco Molinari (Open Championship).
Brooks Koepka signing with Srixon? Perhaps.
It’s tough to keep things a secret, especially when the breadcrumbs are so out in the open. Although all a Cleveland/Srixon spokesperson said about a potential relationship with Brooks Koepka is that “We can confirm that we have been working with Brooks. He has been testing all of our products,” Koepka was spotted at The American Express using a set of Srixon’s ZX7 irons, and he is no longer listed as a brand ambassador on the Titleist website, indicating he has made a ball change, too. A recent tweet from the same spokesperson stated, “I have some BIG NEWS that I can’t say just quite yet.” Like we said, follow the breadcrumbs.
Rickie Fowler goes graphite in his irons
Although Rickie Fowler stuck with his Cobra RF Proto 33 irons, he had new shafts in them at The American Express—Mitsubishi’s MMT 125 TX, a graphite iron shaft that employs metal mesh technology (MMT). Designed to be somewhere between a steel and graphite shaft, the MMT uses a metal mesh made up of individually braided strands of 304 stainless steel. That is integrated within the tip section of the shaft to improve the density and stability of the shaft, while also allowing for thinner overall composite wall construction to produce a consistent launch and spin.
Augenstein signs with Wilson
Given the recent success of players moving from college to the pro game, signing one of the top collegiate amateurs is a solid addition to any tour staff. However, for a company such as Wilson, to land John Augenstein, the 2019 U.S. Amateur runner-up and former No. 3-ranked amateur in the world, could signal a significant shift for its tour staff.
Augenstein joins a staff whose primary star power includes Gary Woodland, Kevin Streelman, Brendan Steele and Padraig Harrington. Not bad as all have won multiple times on the PGA Tour, and Woodland and Harrington own major championships. Each, however, is 36 years old or older, and signing Augenstein to a multiyear deal provides an injection of youth.
A four-time All-American at Vanderbilt University, Augenstein was named 2020 SEC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the 2020 Collegiate Player of Year award.
“We are excited to have a young, exciting and accomplished player like John join our Wilson team,” said Tim Clarke, Wilson Golf president. “As we build our presence and gain momentum at the highest level of golf, we are committed to partnering with the game’s next generation of superstars to provide them an opportunity to play some of the best equipment on the market to achieve success.”
Augenstein made his pro debut at The American Express, putting the company’s Staff Model blade irons (3-9) and Staff Model wedges (48 and 52 degrees) in the bag. He will be testing the Wilson LABs prototype driver and woods throughout the season. The changes for him are sweeping as he played 13 full-swing Titleist clubs at last November’s Masters.