Which new TaylorMade driver is Tiger putting in play?
Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll know there are new TaylorMade drivers on the market in 2018.
And we’ve had a hit with the M4 on the launch monitor to see how the performance compares with the M2 which it is replacing.
But which of the new TaylorMade drivers will staff players such as Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm put into play?
Based on what they used last year, you’d say that Johnson, Rose and Day would use M3 – the fully adjustable of the two new TaylorMade drivers – while Woods, McIlroy and Rahm will switch into the M4.
But it would be wrong to assume as Dustin Johnson has posted a video of himself ‘ready for 2018’ with the new M4 driver in his hands.
— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) January 3, 2018
He had always favoured the adjustable M1 driver with more weight placed in the toe to help him play a high fade.
Johnson told us when we spoke at the new TaylorMade drivers launch that his miss was the one which was struck out of the toe and went left.
So the adjustable M1 allowed him to keep the face open and eliminate that destructive ‘hook’ miss.
But with the new ‘Twist Face’ technology the face isn’t actually completely square – the high toe area is actually more open and low low heel area more closed.
Go behind the scenes to when we unveiled our most twisted driver innovation to the world’s best golfers. #TwistFace
— TaylorMade Golf (@TaylorMadeGolf) January 3, 2018
This is to reduce the impact of gear effect and help the heel and toe strikes return to centre rather than spinning too much and missing the fairway.
So maybe DJ favours the M4 to the M3 because the ‘Twist Face’ reduces the miss off his high toe miss to the left? We’ll ask him next time we see him.
So what about Tiger Woods? We all saw him drive the ball better than he has for…ever at the Hero World Challenge using the 2016 TaylorMade M2 driver.
Woods apparently refers to that driver as his ‘snowflake’ – whatever that means – and will surely be loathed to part with a piece of equipment which is working so well for him.
But Woods has signed a mega bucks deal so the top brass will surely be trying to get him using one of the two new TaylorMade drivers.
And the one closest to his ‘snowflake’ – yeah, it’s a bit creepy – is the non-adjustable M4 driver.
However, in two fascinating pieces from Golf Digest’s E Michael Johnson and Max Adler – who spent the day with Woods during a TaylorMade fitting – it seems Woods, like Johnson may be about to spring a surprise.
Apparently the new M4 was going a little bit too high for Woods’ liking and he only really started purring after testing the M3 in a smaller 440cc head shape.
The M3 comes in a 460cc and 440cc model whereas the M4 is only available in a 460cc.
Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s VP of tour operations, had a sneaky suspicion Woods might favour the smaller headshape and moved both weights into the forward position for maximum distance and workability at the expense of some forgiveness.
According to Golf Digest, Woods was finding 322 yards of carry, 15 degrees launch and 2,100 spin. For anyone who’s unsure about Trackman data – that’s called absolutely bombing it.
So will Woods be teeing it up at the Genesis Open in February with the TaylorMade M3? Or will ‘snowflake’ – I’m just going with it now – still be in the bag?
And what of McIlroy, Rose, Rahm and Day? Well if what we’ve seen from Johnson and Woods is anything to go by I guess we should expect the unexpected.
Oh wait, Jon Rahm is using the M4. As you were.
And we’ve also spotted US Open champion Brooks Koepka with one of the new TaylorMade drivers in play at the Tournament of Champions.
You’ll remember he triumphed at Erin Hills with the 2016 M2.
Now this is arguably the most significant move into one of the new TaylorMade drivers as Koepka is not a staff player. He would surely only put the M4 into play if he thought it was better than the M2?