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We know winning the 149th British Open was not easy, but Collin Morikawa made it look that way last week at Royal St. George’s. The 24-year-old Californian hit fairways, hit greens and made putts when he needed to. He even nailed the acceptance speech afterward while holding the Claret Jug.
During the tournament, commentators mentioned several times that Morikawa opted to change his short irons before the start of the British Open, but they did not explain why. They noted, in passing, that Morikawa also made some minor adjustments to his putter. They failed to mention that Morikawa had a new fairway wood in his bag, sort of.
For equipment lovers, here are all the details about Morikawa’s equipment and the adjustments he made to his bag before he became the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Collin Morikawa still plays TaylorMade's 2020 SIM driver. (Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
TaylorMade SIM, 8 degrees of loft, fitted with a Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX shaft. (From $399.99 at taylormadegolf.com) Morikawa ranks 31st in strokes gained off the tee (0.382). By Tour standards, he is not long, averaging 294 yards per tee shot, which ranks 114th on the PGA Tour, but he hits 69 percent of the fairways, ranking 13th. Like nearly all of TaylorMade's other marque staff players like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Matthew Wolff, Morikawa started 2021 using a new SIM2 driver. Specifically, he used a SIM2 Max at both the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii, but he switched back to the SIM driver he used to win the 2020 PGA Championship starting at the Genesis Invitational in February. "Although Collin saw increased ball speed with SIM2 Max, and it had similar spin characteristics with SIM2 Max as he has with SIM, he really likes to move the ball left-to-right," said TaylorMade sports marketing rep Adrian Rietveld. "The SIM gave him a more pronounced left-to-right shape, whereas the SIM2 Max, with a higher moment of inertia, had a straighter flight. After initially testing the SIM2 Max in Hawaii at the beginning of the season, he landed with the SIM driver for the season due to this preferred shot shape." The Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited Morikawa plays is often referred to as the White Board. Many of Mitsubishi's shafts are color-coded, with red-coded shafts having a higher launch angle and slightly more torque than blue-coded shafts. Shafts with a white designation have the lowest launch angle, the least torque and usually create the lowest spin. The Diamana D+ Limited has been designed to be especially stable in the butt and tip sections.
Collin Morikawa tees off on the 18th during his final round of The 149th British Open. (GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
TaylorMade SIM Titanium (14 degrees), SIM2 (19 degrees), with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX shafts (TaylorMade SIM fairway woods from $299.99 at taylormadegolf.com and carlsgolfland.com. SIM2 fairway woods from $399.99 at taylormadegolf.com and dickssportinggoods.com) Morikawa used his 3-wood on several occasions off the tee at Royal St. George's to play positionally and avoid fairway bunkers. According to Rietveld, Morikawa cracked his 3-wood's face before the start of the Scottish Open. "It was just wear and tear," Rietveld said. "It was just a matter of matching a head with the exact same loft and head weight and getting him on his way." Both the SIM Titanium and SIM2 have a titanium face to allow more flex at the moment of impact, to generate more ball speed and distance, along with carbon fiber crowns and heavy stainless steel sole plates. By making the top of the club as light as possible and adding mass to the bottom, the center of gravity location goes down. That encourages a higher ball flight, so shots come down more vertically and stop faster on the greens.
Collin Morikawa's TaylorMade irons. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
TaylorMade P-770 (4), P-7MC (5-9), P-730 (PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts. (TaylorMade P-770 from $174.99 each at dickssportinggoods.com and carlsgolfland.com; P-7MC irons from $174.99 each at dickssportinggoods.com and golfgalaxy.com.) For over a decade, Tiger Woods held the mantle as the best iron payer in the world. Today, it's Morikawa. He leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained approach the green (1.502). The spread between Morikawa and second-ranked player, Paul Casey, is 0.595, which is about the same as the difference between Casey and 56th-ranked Jason Kokrak. Coming into the British Open, Morikawa used a blended set of irons. At Torrey Pines during the U.S. Open, he had a hollow-bodied TaylorMade P-770 4-iron, P-7MC irons in his 5- and 6-iron and TaylorMade's muscleback P-7MB in his 7-iron through pitching wedge. But after completing the Scottish Open, Morikawa reached out to Rietveld and said that he was not hitting his mid- and short irons as well as he usually does. Things were fractionally off. After giving different ideas some thought, Rietveld asked Morikawa how he was hitting his 6-iron. Morikawa replied that he felt that specific club was fine. "I said that maybe it was the sole geometry on the (6-iron) MC versus the blades in his mid- and short irons," Rietveld said. "I told him that I thought the right thing to do was build up a 7-, 8-, 9- and pitching wedge in the P-7MC to match the rest of your set, test it and take it from there."
The TaylorMade P-7MC worked through the links turf more effectively for Morikawa than the P-7MB. (Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
The P-7MC has slightly less relief on the leading edge and slightly less bounce than the P-7MB, so Rietveld thought that Morikawa's mid- and short-iron shots might not be working through the firm Scottish ground the way Morikawa likes, leading him to hit shots at touch thin. During testing on Monday at Royal St. George's, the MC irons hit the ball higher than their muscleback counterparts, which was expected, but they also made a noticeably different sound. "With Collin, you pick that up pretty quickly, and he picks that up pretty quickly and how the club is going through the links turf," Rietveld said. Morikawa hit the type of shots he wanted to hit more easily and more often with the MC irons, but his eyes and the TrackMan launch monitor did not see a difference in the performance between the P-7MC and the P-7MB pitch wedges. In Collin's mind, if it ain't better and it ain't going to make an important, if it's the same, he's not switching it," Rietveld said.
Collin Morikawa on the 15th hole during the second round of the British Open. (Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (50 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (56 degrees), TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts (TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe Raw from $179.99 at taylormadegolf.com and dickssportinggoods.com) Similar to his experience with his irons, Morikawa made a minor adjustment to his wedge setup at Royal St. George's, going with his standard TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 gap wedge and Titleist Vokey Design SM8 sand wedge. However, instead of playing his Milled Grind 2 60-degree wedge. Again, it all came down to turf interaction. Morikawa's normal lob wedge has 10-degrees of bounce, but after Rietveld made him a 60-degree Hi-Toe wedge with 7 degrees of bounce, his performance improved. "Literally, within 10 shots he was like, 'Yeah, that's spot on,'" Rietveld said.
Collin Morikawa's TaylorMade putter. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
TaylorMade TP Juno Long Neck (From $325 on taylormadegolf.com) For several months, Morikawa used a TaylorMade Spider FCG putter, but in late May he started thinking about making a change. So, like everyone else under 30, he went online. Morikawa used TaylorMade's MyTP putter program and designed a TP Juno that he wanted to try, but instead of buying the putter online he took the design to the company's Tour department and had them create it. Morikawa's TP Juno Long Neck putter is a heel-toe weighted blade that has two weight ports in the sole. Typically, the weight screws that are inserted in the ports are identical, and their combined weight helps fitters use the same head while adjusting the club's swing weight and feel to match the club's length and the golfer's preferences. Last week, however, Morikawa added extra weight to his putter. Specifically, he removed the 2.5-gram weights and added 7.5-gram weights, increasing the head's overall weight by 10 grams. He adjusted to compensate for the slower greens at Royal St. George's. On the PGA Tour, greens typically roll to an 11.5 or 12 on a Stimpmeter, which is faster than the 10-.10.5 found on most links courses. So, instead of consciously changing his stroke or trying to hit the ball harder to make it roll farther, making the putter head slightly heavier applied more force to Morikawa's putts.
The 2021 TaylorMade TP5 ball. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
TaylorMade TP5 (From $47.99 at taylormadegolf.com and dickssportinggoods.com) TaylorMade has two tour-caliber, premium balls, the TP5 and TP5x. The TP5, which Morikawa plays, creates a lower launch angle and spins more with wedges and short irons than the TP5x. Both balls have a urethane cover and a soft feel at impact, but the TP5 has a slightly-lower compression and should feel a touch softer than the TP5x.