2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans
The weather has cleared over New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, and Team TaylorMade looks to capitalize on the soft conditions at TPC Louisiana as Irons Week heads toward the weekend. At TPC Louisiana, our Tour staffers took some time on the range and in practice rounds to make some new club modifications ahead of Thursday’s tee times. As validation of TaylorMade’s 36 years of pushing the limits of irons performance, each of our current Tour model irons—PSi Tour and M2 Tour—found their way into play this week.
With World No.1, Jason Day, and Defending Champion, Justin Rose, entering the event as the clear favorites, the weekend shapes up to be an exciting finish to our celebration of 36 years of irons innovation. Keep an eye out for TaylorMade staffers sporting the limited edition Irons Week hats as the tournament plays out, and check out some notable equipment changes below to see how our players got dialed in for the Zurich Classic.
It was Irons Week in New Orleans, check out the special "T" logo!
Rhein Gibson added a new driving hybrid to the bag: an M2 Tour 3 iron, bent to a 2 iron. Rhein is the first staffer to put the M2 Tour irons in play on the PGA Tour, as he just couldn’t get away from how forgiving and long they perform. He plays it as a strong-lofted driving iron to use on short, tight Par 4’s and so he can hit it high to land it soft going into Par 5’s. Rhein surprisingly put in a HZRDUS black hybrid shaft into his M2 Tour to take advantage of the feel and feedback the combination gives him off the tee and off the deck.
Rhein Gibson gaming a new M2 Tour driving iron.
Jason Day switched to the M2 fairway wood at the RBC Heritage, but currently has two separate gamers he carries based on course conditions and what the demands are for that week. He carries a M2 3HL 16.5° that is bent to 14.5° (by de-lofting it 2° it also opens the face about 1.5°). He prefers his 3-wood to sit open at address so he can go after it with no worries of missing left. He also carries a 17° M2 3-wood, bent to 15.5°. He hits this ‘soft’ 3 wood slightly shorter, but hits it higher and with slightly more accuracy. He went with his ‘soft’ 3 wood at the Zurich Classic as it is perfect off the tee on multiple holes that run out at about 280 yards. The Par 5’s at TPC Louisiana are also all well over 500 yards and his softer 3-wood is the perfect club for his approach into the tricky Par 5 greens.
John Huh was an early adopter of the PSi irons on Tour. His caddie described his iron game with them in one word, “pure.” John was instantly satisfied with the consistent launch and feel of the PSi irons as he can hit the desired launch window with every club in his bag. One thing John has always struggled with is hitting it slightly low on the face, so the added forgiveness his gamers provide him are an added bonus to his ball striking. “I don’t feel like I have to hit it perfect every time, which is nice because I still get the distance on a slightly mis-hit ball. They’ve been great.”
A deeper look inside TM Staffer, John Huh’s bag at the Zurich Classic.vv
Jamie Donaldson put a new gamer in the bag this week as he made the transition into a new M2 9.5° driver. Jamie does not like to switch clubs and has been playing his SLDR since its inception in 2013. He has had some recent struggles on the course and wanted to test out some new sticks before the summer heats up, and he thought the Zurich would be the perfect time. Our Tour staff built Jamie 4 different drivers with different lofts and shaft options until he selected the one that felt and performed the best. He was struggling with a left miss with his SLDR, so he decided on the M2 9.5° with a Grafalloy ProLite 3.5 X. The dispersion tightened significantly and that left miss turned into a subtle pull, which he was completely fine with.
Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters Champion, was caught testing some new PSi Tour irons this week with new shafts in play. He currently plays True Temper X100’s, but feels like he can’t keep the speed up with them and has been hitting them lower due to the heavy gram weight they play at. Our Tour staff put in some new Project X PXi (6.5) shafts, which are about 110 grams compared to 130 grams. They are also progressive shafts so launch windows can be matched from 3-iron through PW.
The 2016 Zurich Classic is off to a hot start for TM staffers as there are currently 6 players inside the Top 10, with many others lurking and hoping to make a move up the leaderboard before the weekend. World No.1 opened up with a smooth -3 (69) and will look to chase down the lead to capture his 3rd victory of 2016 and gain some spacing as the undisputed #1 golfer in the world.
Take a look at an inside the rope’s gallery from the 2016 Zurich Classic:
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