Ever seen a golfer using a 9-wood?
If you watched Dustin Johnson playing in the opening round of the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills, you did. You probably just didn’t realise until now.
The former world No.1 made an 11th hour change to his bag in the hope of giving himself the best weapon possible to attack the greens and harness the conditions at Southern Hills.
On Wednesday, two-time major champion Johnson worked with TaylorMade tour reps to identify the best ‘second shot’ golf club for him at the long end of his bag. Finally, they settled on a TaylorMade Stealth 9-wood with 24˚ of loft.
This isn’t actually that huge a departure for DJ. Throughout 2022, the 37-year-old has had a 21˚ 7-wood in the bag.
However, in view of the unique challenge posed in Oklahoma this week, he decided he needed to mix things up.
“With potential 20 to 30 mile per hour winds all week, you’re trying to keep it under the trees along the fairways and under the wind,” explained Adrian Rietveld, senior tour manager for TaylorMade.
“In terms of stopping the ball on greens, because the winds are so high and the greens are so severe, your advantage is getting into play and into the right position and then using your mid irons and short irons to your advantage.
“Getting it in play is the key since there’s no first or second cut. It’s fairway and it’s rough. If you get greedy and you get a flier, it’s going to be a tough up and down.”
It was for that reason that Johnson ultimately decided not to go with his lower-flighted DJ Proto 3-iron.
As far as the Stealth 9-wood goes, Johnson’s numbers are more than impressive. In testing, he was consistently hitting it around 245 yards, which is nearly the exact same distance he produces with his 3-iron.
With the 9-wood, however, he hits it much higher and gets more spin (around 4200 RPMs).