Justin Rose has revealed the reasons behind his shock move from TaylorMade to Honma.

We reported before Christmas how the World No. 1 was set to sign a big money deal with the Japanese brand and the news was confirmed on New Year’s Day.

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Rose is teeing it up this week at the Desert Classic in California and shot an opening round of 68 with his new clubs. Phil Mickelson went eight shots better to claim the first round lead.

“All in all, with the new bag of clubs, I felt really good with them,” Rose said.

“I drove the ball fantastically well and hit a lot of shots pin high with my irons.”

Justin Rose

Rose revealed ahead of the event he was using the Honma TW 747 driver, irons and wedges along with a couple of TaylorMade fairway woods, the TP5 ball and a new Axis1 putter.

Axis1 are based near Boston and claim their putters are perfectly balanced for a more consistent delivery.

And it was the flexibility to use a putter of his choice which prompted him to seek a more flexible equipment deal.

“That was a big factor in having that flexibility,” Rose told Golf Digest. “The putter was a huge reason why this conversation [with Honma] started.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement for how good the driver and irons are…

But he did say having input during the design for his new irons was a bonus.

Justin Rose

“Obviously, TaylorMade’s been one of the juggernauts of the game,” Rose added.

“There are elements there that you can have an influence on, but they have a solid R&D team that’s working years in advance.

“The collaborative process of making [Honma] irons was so much fun. I was able to make them look and feel like my own, which I think is awesome.”

Personally, I was a bit cynical when Rose announced he was leaving TaylorMade – a brand which has helped him get to the top of the world rankings.

It was quite easy (and naive) to just say it was all about the money. Yes, he will be getting very well paid but he has enough of that to last him a lifetime already.

Justin Rose

When you are the world’s best player you will be raking it in from corporate sponsorship.

So I genuinely believe Rose has made this switch for the right reasons – to try and win more majors.

James Savage

Former equipment editor of NCG. Inconsistent ball-striker and tea-maker.

Handicap: 17

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