After winning the claret jug at St. Andrews last July, Zach Johnson made numerous offseason equipment changes after signing an endorsement deal with Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG).
Golfweek sat down with PXG’s director of tournament player relations, Matt Rollins, to learn more about the clubs Johnson anticipates using to defend his title this week at Royal Troon.
PUTTER: SeeMore FGP
This center-shafted putter is face-balanced and was in his bag last season when he won at St. Andrews and in 2007 when he won the Masters. It is cast from 303 stainless steel, and the face is milled to make it flat.
Like other SeeMore putters, Johnson’s FGP features the red RifleScope alignment system. When a player addresses the ball and the red mark in the heel is hidden by the hosel, the player knows the face is perpendicular to the target line.
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DRIVER: PXG 0811X prototype (10 degrees adjusted to 9), with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ 73X shaft
This club went into Johnson’s bag the week of the Dean and DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club. Rollins said this driver spins less than the standard 0811 that Johnson had played since he started using PXG clubs in January, and with it Johnson finds it easy to turn over the ball and hit from right to left.
“Zach is a draw guy,” Rollins said. “When he swings his best, he hits what the guys in his camp call a hold-off draw. He wants to be able to swing and hold the face open, because of his grip, but still have the ball go left.”
The center of gravity in this driver is slightly more toward the heel, so it suits Johnson’s swing. Rollins replaced the titanium weight screws in the back of the sole with tungsten screws to increase the initial launch angle and add spin.
As judged by a TrackMan launch monitor, Johnson’s typical drive has an initial launch angle of 13 degrees with about 2,000 to 2,100 rpm of spin. Rollins said that under normal conditions Johnson carries the ball 272 yards with about 20 yards of roll.
Johnson has tested new shafts, including the Project X HZRDUS Black, but he has used the Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ for years. This is the original Blue Board, not the newest version. The fit is ideal for Johnson because the shaft is softer at the bottom.
“That shaft is like family for him; he knows what it feels like,” Rollins said. “Every time he hits another shaft well, he’s happy, but if he misses one, the look he gives me says, ‘Oh, the old shaft never did that.’ ”
Zach Johnson made a critical 25-footer for birdie on the closing hole that earned him a spot in a three-man playoff at the 2015 Open Championship. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Professional golfers will tell you every club in the bag plays an important role during the week of a major championship.
But as we've seen over the years at the Open Championship, there's usually one club in the bag that separates the winner from the rest of the field.
Here's a look back at the key club in the bag for the last five Open champions.
Zach Johnson - SeeMore FGP
The oldest club in Zach Johnson's bag played the played the biggest role at the 2015 Open Championship. Coming off a bogey on the 17th hole, he made a critical 25-footer for birdie on the closing hole that earned him a spot in a three-man playoff with Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
Johnson went on to birdie the first two holes of the playoff to grab a lead he would never relinquish and win his second major title.
With the exception of the 2015 Valero Texas Open, where Johnson tried a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X5R for one event, he has used the same SeeMore FGP putter (34 inches; 2.5 degrees of loft) — also known as the model Payne Stewart used to win the 1999 U.S. Open — for more than a decade.
The blade-style putter has played a part in all 12 of Johnson's PGA TOUR wins and features the company’s patented RifleScope Technology — also known as the hidden red dot. When the red dot, which is on top of the club head, is “hidden” behind the shaft at address, a player knows he has the putter aligned.
"It may not be the prettiest thing to a lot of people, but I love it,” Johnson said. “It’s simple."
Simple was enough to help Johnson hoist the Claret Jug for the first time in his career.
Click HERE to watch - In the third round of the 2016 LECOM Health Challenge, Sebastian Cappelen makes a 14-foot birdie putt on the par-4 9th hole.
Click HERE to watch - Sebastian Cappelen birdies No. 10 at LECOM - In the third round of the 2016 LECOM Health Challenge, Sebastian Cappelen hits his approach shot on the par-4 10th hole to 6 feet then makes the putt for birdie.