All the Gear: Who's having chipping lessons with the Ryder Cup captain?

Golf Equipment

Our equipment editor James Savage is out and about at Birkdale this week to bring you all the behind-the-scenes gear news...

Welcome to the 146th Open Championship. We’re coming to you live all week from the sensational Royal Birkdale Golf Club near Southport.

I’ll be out and about on the course and the practice facilities hunting down all the equipment-related stories throughout the week.

It didn’t take me long to get distracted.

On my first excursion from the media centre, I couldn’t help but notice the large frame of Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn at the practice chipping green.

He was watching a small boy hit chips onto the immaculate suface. On closer inspection it was the not-so-large frame of 2018 team hopeful Matt Fitzpatrick.

It soon became apparent that Bjorn was giving the Sheffield native an actual chipping lesson. I think that bodes well for Fitzpatrick if the skipper is prepared to take the time out to help him fine-tune his links golf skills.

Bjorn was explaining how it was much better to let the ball bump twice up the slope to the green then let it run out rather than just bouncing once. It definitely seemed to work.

Out on the course I bumped into a couple of players who I quite like the look of this week. Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed.

I’m always curious to see if players are putting new equipment in the bag especially for links golf. Maybe a 2-iron or a delofted hybrid of some description?

Molinari is now effectively a full-time TaylorMade staff player. He uses the M2 driver and 3-wood, P770 irons, Milled Grind wedges and the Spider Tour Red putter.

I asked if he had tweaked anything at all for this week and he said apart from the wedges being brand new, his set-up in terms of clubs and lofts is exactly the same as any other week on the PGA Tour. He also works full-time now with Dave Alred – the coach who helped Luke Donald and Jonny Wilkinson to great success.

He’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I love Patrick Reed. It was no surprise to see him out playing a practice round on his own. He’s still waiting for his invite to spring break.

I asked Reed the same question as Molinari – whether or no he has changed anything this week or whether it’s the same as if he was playing in Florida on the PGA Tour.

“Nope. But it’s only Monday,” he chuckled. We’re pretty good friends now.

Unfortunately the Ryder Cup pants were nowhere to be seen. But as Reed rightly points out it’s only Monday.

Stay tuned for more gear news throughout the week where hopefully I’ll be able to bring you some, err, news?

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