DJ Kicks Off the New Year With a Win
The media and certainly social media seemed mostly to have two topics in mind all week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. First it was Rickie Fowler’s “untucked look” on Thursday wearing a shirt from Puma Golf’s Aloha Collection. This caused a flurry of comment but secondly some in the media couldn’t keep from rehashing multiple times how Dustin Johnson had “blown” a six-shot lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in October. The speculation was his lingering anxiety over this incident three months ago could affect his performance and combined with switching to a new driver he might not be able to close it out.
Well Johnson removed any doubt by decisively taking the two-stroke lead at the close of Saturday’s round and extending it to an eight-shot win over the 34-man field comprised of tournament winners in the past season.
The driver DJ relied on was a TaylorMade M4 model ($430) introduced this past week and it has two significant design features aimed at recreational players as well as professionals. The face does not have the bulge and roll profile seen on other drivers but subtitle curvatures to compensate for the misses of most golfers typically have. They call it Twist Face.
Normally driver faces, when the impact is high towards the toe, tend to hook the ball and not launch it high enough so TMaG’s Twist Face has made the area of the face near the toe slightly open and with additional loft. Conversely impacts low towards the heel, where slicers usually hit the ball, are compensated for by the Twist Face being closed a little with a decrease in the loft. The face is therefore “twisted” to bring the off-center hits back closer to the intended line more than the results from faces with the traditional bulge and roll profile.
TaylorMade pioneered the sole slot or Speed Pocket and in the M4 it has been reconfiguration into what they are calling the “Hammerhead Slot.” The design is now divided into three parts with ribs between and made longer from heel to toe so the face thickness and weight could be decreased. The result was an increase in forgiveness and off-center impact performance.
The M4’s companion driver is the M3 ($500) which is of a similar construction but with the addition of a Y-shaped track in the sole containing two weights for shot curvature bias control.
Johnson also has gone with TMaG’s new P730 irons having done extensive work with them over the off-season. Like his previous irons, he has them equipped with True Temper’s Dynamic Golf X100 shafts.
Johnson’s Winning Gear
- Driver: TaylorMade M4, 9.5 degrees, Fuji Speeder Evolution X shaft
- Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M4 3HL, 16.5 degrees, Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5 95 X shaft
- Irons: 3-iron TaylorMade P790, DG X100 shaft; 4-iron through pitching wedge TaylorMade P730, DG X100 shafts
- Wedges: 52- & 60-degrees TaylorMade MG, KBS Tour Black 130 X shafts; 64-degrees MG wedge Hi-Toe, KBS Tour Black 130 X shaft
- Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Black
- Ball: TaylorMade TP5X
In Case Anyone Should Ask
Counts: Titleist won the ball count among the 34 players at the Sentry Tournament of Champions with 21 using a Pro V1 or Pro V1x versus seven for the nearest competitor. They also were top choice in the hybrids (11 players) and irons (9 players) while their Vokey Design Wedges were the most played in the approach, sand and lob wedge category (13 players) and Scotty Cameron putters was first in putters with 16.
Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges: The big news about the Callaway Mack Daddy 4 wedges is what they are calling “Groove-in-Groove Technology.” After the main horizontal grooves are cut and then milled a separate milling is performed to roughen the inter-groove area with three raised ridges. All this is aimed at providing the proper amount of spin to maximized control. Four sole grinds are offered as are two finishes. Available this month priced at $150.
Infinite Putters: Wilson Staff has brought out nine new Infinite putter models replacing those from 2015 with more than just a plain vanilla updating. There three blades, two mallets and one semi-mallet for men and a blade and a mallet for women with a variety of hosels but all share a PVD black finish and white contrast sight lines. Faces are double milled, grips are oversized, all have counter balanced weighting and are priced at a pocketbook-friendly $99.
New G 400 Max: Ping made a new driver, the G 400 Max, available to staff members playing in the Sony Open so we can expect it at retail soon. If they have followed a similar pattern to previous line additions the new driver will offer added forgiveness in comparison to the standard G 400 introduced this past summer. The Max could also be a larger 460cc size club head since the three current versions—standard, SFT and LST—are all 445cc.