Justin Rose became the first English golfer to win a U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin won at Hazeltine National in 1970. His all-TaylorMade bag: TaylorMade R1 driver (9.5 degree, with a Matrix Ozik 6M3 Black Tie shaft), RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour HL fairway wood (16.5 degree, with a Matrix Ozik 7M3 Black Tie shaft), RocketBladez Tour (3-6) and Tour Preferred MB (7-PW) irons with KBS C-Taper shafts, ATV wedges (52, 56 and 60 degree, with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts), TaylorMade Spider Blade putter. He played a TaylorMade Lethal golf ball.
Rose’s Spider Blade was a 37-inch, counter-balanced model. Previously, he had used a 34-inch version. Rose said the switch enabled him to be more comfortable putting with a taller posture.
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Long irons in demand at Merion: A predictable trend at the U.S. Open was the addition of long irons by several players.
Three TaylorMade staffers made the move: Stewart Cink played a RocketBladez Tour 3-iron bent to 2-iron loft at 1-iron length. John Senden added a RocketBladez Tour 2-iron. Jason Day played a Tour Preferred MC 2-iron.
Meanwhile, Cobra staff member Rickie Fowler added a Cobra AMP Forged 3-iron to his bag, removing an AMP Cell 3-hybrid. Nike’s Charl Schwartzel went with the VR Pro Combo 2-iron in place of his VR Pro Limited Edition 5-wood. Shawn Stefani carried two Mizuno 3-irons, one delofted to 18 degree. He plans keep both in his bag for the rest of the season.
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Poulter takes a cue from Hogan: There is the famous quote from Ben Hogan – “There are no 7-iron shots at Merion” – explaining why he did not carry his 7-iron in the 1950 U.S. Open.
After two rounds at Merion, Ian Poulter banished his 7-iron, adding a 50-degree Cobra AMP Cell Pro gap wedge in its place. Poulter normally alternates between a Cobra AMP Cell 5-wood and the gap wedge, but ultimately he decided to use both at Merion.
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KBS shafts’ major run: Three of the last four major champions have used KBS steel shafts in their irons: Ernie Els in the 2012 Open Championship (KBS Tour X flex), Adam Scott in the 2013 Masters (KBS Tour X flex), and Justin Rose (KBS C-Taper S+ flex).
Rose switched to KBS C-Taper in September 2011 and has won three times since.
Phil Mickelson, who tied for second at Merion, had a combination of KBS Tour and KBS Tour V2 shafts in his irons.
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Matrix shafts figure prominently: In addition to U.S. Open champion Justin Rose carrying two Matrix shafts, runner-up Jason Day had the company’s shafts in his woods.
Day used an Ozik TP7HD shaft in his TaylorMade R1 driver and an Ozik TP7D in his TaylorMade RBZ Tour 4-wood.
The company is introducing a fitting system for hybrids. The Altus line of hybrids shafts is being expanded – with new models available in late July – and the Matrix Flight System is intended to provide a simple, reliable method of fitting these shafts to individual golfers.
Previously, Matrix offered its Flight System for identifying wood shafts for players.
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Short shots: A total of 77 players in the field of 156 carried at least one Titleist Bob Vokey wedge. . . . Titleist won its first U.S. Open ball count in 1949 and has been the most played golf ball in the national championship for 65 consecutive years. . . . Rory McIlroy changed the shaft in his Nike VR_S Covert Tour driver (10.5 degree), going with a Kuro Kage prototype shaft from Mitsubishi Rayon. The shaft is TiNickel (it contains titanium and nickel fiber) and weighs 70 grams. . . . Geoff Sisk, 48 and a six-time winner of the Massachusetts Open, shot 78-75 and missed the cut by five strokes. In his bag were three demo clubs retrieved from a barrel at Marshfield (Mass.) Country Club: a Titleist 910 driver, an Adams 9031 3-hybrid and a Titleist 913H hybrid (17 degree). “I think more golfers should pick their clubs one at a time and find something they really like,” Sisk said. . . . Mitsubishi Rayon captured the driver and total wood shaft counts at the U.S. Open. . . . Low amateur Michael Kim had a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Kai’li in his Titleist 913D3 driver (8.5 degree).
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By the numbers
Here are the equipment leaders from the U.S. Open:
Balls: Titleist 97, TaylorMade 23, Nike 13, Srixon 11, Callaway 8, Bridgestone 4
Drivers: TaylorMade 60, Titleist 32, Ping 18, Nike 14, Callaway 12, Cleveland 12
Fairway woods: TaylorMade 79, Titleist 33, Callaway 26, Ping 23, Nike 18
Hybrids: Adams 29, Titleist 28, TaylorMade 20, Ping 13
Utility irons: Titleist 13, Mizuno 4, Callaway 3
Irons: Titleist 37, TaylorMade 37, Ping 20, Callaway 14, Nike 14
Wedges (sand, lob, approach): Titleist 159, Cleveland 42, TaylorMade 42, Ping 38, Callaway 35, Nike 32
Putters: Odyssey 50, Titleist 46, Ping 20, TaylorMade 14, Nike 11
Gloves: FootJoy 60, Titleist 30, TaylorMade 23, Nike 14
Shoes: FootJoy 94, Adidas 27, Nike 19