The fascinating tale behind Koepka's Mizuno ironsAugust 12, 2018 Golf Equipment
The first two majors of 2018 have been won by players without club deals. In this week's Tech Talk equipment editor James Savage talks to the man who designed the Mizuno irons Brooks Koepka chose to win back-to-back US Opens with
The story of Brooks Koepka’s Mizuno irons is a fascinating tale of meticulous planning, heartbreak and redemption with the happiest of endings.
Take it with a pinch of salt if you like. I know I did when I first heard it.
I had to phone Mizuno’s chief club designer Chris Voshall to get all the finer details but the brief summary is as follows.
The year is 2014. Mizuno currently have MP irons for tour players and JPX irons for club golfers but want some tour validation for the technology and performance of the JPX line.
They set their sights on a young, athletic, aggressive player who’s club deal with Titleist is due to expire the following year.
They believe he embodies everything they are looking for as the face of their JPX irons for tour players.
Mizuno create the JPX900 Tour irons. But Brooks Koepka signs a long-term club deal with Nike.
It looked like game over for Mizuno’s Project: Koepka.
Then comes the twist.
Nike announce they are no longer going to make golf clubs leaving dozens of tour players including, Koepka, as free agents.
I will leave Chris to fill in how we got from there to Koepka winning back to back US Open’s and the 2018 PGA Championship with the JPX900 Tour irons…
I guess you must be feeling pretty proud right now?
Man, it’s pretty cool. I’ve been designing clubs for Mizuno for about 14 years now.
We had Luke Donald get to World No. 1 with some clubs I did but never had a major win until last year so to get back to back US Open titles (and a PGA Championship) with a player who literally chose them as opposed to us paying him – that’s pretty incredible.
When you created the JPX900 Tour did you really only have Koepka in mind?
He really was the target. We wanted some tour validation for the JPX line so our goal was to pick a guy to play the JPX on tour who looked the part, had the right attitude, the aggressiveness.
We looked at a number of different players but we really zeroed in on Brooks as he embodied everything we wanted that JPX image to be.
He wasn’t just one of the guys, he was THE guy that we really wanted JPX to look like on tour.
Interview continues on the next page…