Conditions of the courses that are part of the Open Championship rotation could not be more different than the ones that players see week-to-week on the PGA Tour. Because of this Open Championship week sees more equipment changes than any other week on Tour.
These changes range from the best players in the world to the longest of longshots, as players look to gain any possible advantage to help them succeed this week at Royal St George’s.
Justin Thomas switches to a new putter
Justin Thomas’ switch to a mallet putter in 2017 was life-changing. He visited the Scotty Cameron putting studio in early 2017 to get a complete analysis of his putting stroke and how he could improve it. He walked out with a Futura X5 that could not have been more different than the Newport 2 he had been using his entire life to that point.
The change provided quick improvement as Thomas won the PGA Championship later that season.
Thomas made a much less drastic change last week at the Scottish Open and will stick with it at Royal St George’s this week. Thomas stuck with the mallet head shape but added a neck that resembles more of a Newport 2 style to make a combination between the two. It worked well for Thomas last week— he finished T8 at the Renaissance Club.
Glover puts new ball in play
Looking to break a 10-year drought between wins on the PGA Tour, Lucas Glover took a gamble and changed his golf ball. But the 2009 US Open champion saw immediate results as he won the John Deere Classic last week.
Glover switched from the Titleist ProV1 left dash—which has been available on Tour for years but only recently came onto the retail market—to the 2021 ProV1 and saw better spin and control from the new ball.
Champ also makes a putter change
Cameron Champ ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee this season, but he sits outside the top 100 in every other major statistical category. Putting has been his worst area this season, as he ranks 206th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Champ’s results haven’t looked much better than his statistics lately—he had missed the cut or withdrawn in his last five starts before his T11 finish at the John Deere Classic last week.
Champ traded out his Ping Anser shape head with a plumbers’ neck to an Anser 4 shape with a flow neck in the hope of improving his setup. He also saw quick results finishing T23 in Strokes Gained: Putting and gained .679 strokes on the greens at TPC Deere Run. It was just the third time this season Champ gained strokes on the field putting for just the third time this season and his first since the Valero Texas Open in April.
It is common for players to switch putters heading into The Open as the greens are usually much slower than a regular PGA Tour event. PGA Tour greens average around 12 on the Stimpmeter, with the other three major championships and The Players sometimes reaching speeds of 13 or 14. The greens measured at 9.9 on the Stimp at Royal St George’s Wednesday.