Morikawa's second round 64 was a sparkling display of ball striking, and he gave us some insight into the subtle equipment changes he made coming into the 149th Open.
“I Love My Clubs”: Morikawa’s Equipment Changes Help Open Chances
Collin Morikawa was smiling from ear to ear as he entered the press conference room on Friday afternoon at the 149th Open Championship.
And who can blame him. His Friday round of 64 was a sparkling display of ball striking, putting and temperament as he ran three clear of the morning starters on Friday.
In a week where Bryson Dechambeau started blaming his equipment for poor performance, Morikawa was quick to thank his manufacturer as he heads into the weekend in second place.
When asked about his clubs, Morikawa had a knowing grin on his face as he explained, “Yeah, I love my clubs. I love every single one of them, thank you. That’s TaylorMade, by the way.”
While this was obviously a somewhat cheeky response to DeChambeau’s tantrum on Thursday, Morikawa had made some subtle equipment changes coming into the week to help him best execute his game on a links course.
The American, who has been a TaylorMade staffer ever since he turned pro, made some key changes in his mid-low irons this week to give him a little bit more help with his already formidable ball striking.
Normally, he uses a P730 iron in his 7-iron through to pitching wedge, but this week he switched out his 7, 8 and 9 irons into the P7MCs to allow for more forgiveness from the bladed P730s.
“Yeah, so normally I have a pitching wedge through 7-iron P 730s, the blades. So I switched out my 9 through 7, so only three clubs. Those are three crucial clubs that are some of my favourite clubs. My 8-iron is my favourite club in the bag, and when I wasn’t able to hit it last week well I knew I had to try something different.”
“So I switched to the P7MCs, same irons I have in my 6- and 5-irons, so it flows through the set, and I just the kept the P730 and the pitching wedge just felt like I could work it and figure out distances a little better with that wedge.”
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Morikawa had a mixed week at last week’s Scottish Open. He made the cut but struggled over the weekend to eventually finish T71st.
Four rounds in links conditions clearly gave him enough insight to understand that a few subtle iron changes would help him out at Royal St. George’s.
Morikawa also made some significant technique changes with his putting ahead of this week’s Open.
Traditionally using a claw grip to putt, Morikawa switched to a conventional putting grip to help him with pace control from putts outside 25 feet.
He explained how this change has helped him gain tempo on the traditionally slower links greens.
“It’s a feel thing, but it’s more I couldn’t get the tempo on the saw grip. I think the saw grip is amazing for me. It’s going to continue to be in my bag and as I continue to putt. But from outside 25, 30 feet I just couldn’t get that hit. I couldn’t get that tempo that you see like a Brandt Snedeker put on his putts.”
“That is something you need out here because the greens slower than what we’re used to playing. Just switching to conventional, I didn’t have to change anything mentally. I just kind of went at it like I normally felt, and kind of matched the speeds. That’s something that without my caddie, J.J., I wouldn’t have figured out on my own.”
Inside this 30ft range, Morikawa has adopted his usual claw grip.
The changes have been subtle, but Morikawa’s equipment changes led to rounds of 67 and 64 – both of which were carried by his ball striking and putting.
It’s the American’s first appearance at The Open and his awareness of his game and the conditions around him this week have put him right in contention for a second Major win.