What's in The Bag: The Open Winners' Edition
The oldest major championship of them all, the Open Championship is all about tradition and paying respect to the history that surrounds the tournament. With the tournament returning to the Old Course at St. Andrews, it’s time to look back at the clubs of previous Open champions.
Golf fanatics across the globe are ecstatic for the return of the Open to the Old Course for the first time since Zach Johnson’s triumph in 2015. As players are gearing up for what promises to be an amazing 150th Open, let’s examine the bags of past champions.
This throwback guide will:
- Highlight a specific club from each of the 6 past champions’ bags
- Discuss notable facts and specs from these clubs
- Describe the best perks of each of them for the everyday golfer
Callaway XR 16 Driver – Henrik Stenson, 2016
While many may fondly remember Stenson’s Callaway Diablo Octane Tour, his Callaway XR 16 is even more noteworthy as he became the second golfer of the year to win a major using this driver, following Danny Willett’s Masters’ victory.
The XR 16 is the more forgiving successor to Callaway’s previous iteration, the XR. The XR 16’s larger and longer clubhead contributes to its forgiving abilities. Contrary to the XR, the XR 16 does not feature a closed face, which will appeal to many single-digit golfers.
What you’ll like about the Callaway XR 16 driver:
- Large clubhead for more forgiveness
- No offset near the hosel, which will appeal to any level of golfers
- Improve aerodynamics for faster swing speeds
Titleist 915F 3-Wood – Jordan Spieth, 2017
Many remember Jordan Spieth’s triumph at Royal Birkdale, especially for his near meltdown incident on the 13th hole on Sunday. Spieth would’ve probably been better off using his Titleist 915F 3-wood instead of the big stick, but he managed to compose himself in the end to win the tournament.
The 915F is perfect for golfers looking for a lower spin rate for the ball at impact, much like highly skilled players such as Tour pros. The reduced spin rate is a result of an adjustable weight located right behind the clubface, on the sole of the clubhead.
What you’ll like about the Titleist 915F fairway wood:
- Lower spin rates to maximize control over the golf ball
- Deep clubhead that’ll provide more confidence at address
- Ideal for golfers with fast swing speeds that generate a lot of spin at impact
Titleist 913F 5-Wood – Zach Johnson, 2015
The predecessor to the 915F model, the Titleist 913F fairway wood was the club of choice for Johnson the last time the Open visited St. Andrews. Johnson made the most out of his two-fairway wood setup capturing the title in a three-man playoff.
Much like its successor, the 913F is designed to help players with higher skill levels to have more control over their strikes. However, the club will still help less experienced golfers who tend to have a hard time consistently striking their fairway wood.
What you’ll like about the Titleist 913F fairway wood:
- Maximize control over the ball flight at impact
- Will deliver a decent amount of forgiveness on mishits
- Smaller clubhead profile for a sleeker look at address
Srixon Z 785 Iron Set – Shane Lowry, 2019
The Srixon Z 785 irons were featured in Shane Lowry’s bag when the Irish golfer completed the illustrious achievement of winning one of the rare Open Championships played outside of England or Scottland.
Lowry had his Z 785 irons dialed in for the Open as he managed to hit just under 80% of the greens at Royal Portrush on his way to victory. Though they may not be your typical blade irons, the Z 785 will deliver the same quality feel for the ball at impact to maximize your control.
What you’ll like about the Srixon Z 785 irons:
- Compact enough to maximize control, but still delivers forgiveness
- Amazing feel for the ball at impact
- Slightly more forgiving than typical blade irons
TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedges – Francesco Molinari, 2018
A moving day surge, completed by a perfect Sunday, allowed Francesco Molinari to become the first Italian golfer to win a major championship. Molinari delivered a perfect weekend going bogey-free for 37 holes straight.
Molinari’s precision around the greens helped him avoid any imperfections on his scorecard. Using the TaylorMade Milled Grind wedges, the 2018 champion’s short game was on full display as he utilized the TaylorMade wedges to the best of their abilities.
What you’ll like about the TaylorMade Milled Grind wedges:
- Sharp grooves for optimized spin on every strike
- A simplistic design which allows you to focus on the shot at hand
- Milled grind sole to cut easier through longer grass strains
TaylorMade TP Juno Putter – Collin Morikawa, 2021
The latest champion at the Open, Collin Morikawa, used the TaylorMade TP Juno putter when putting on the greens of Royal St George’s. Well known for changing his putter relatively frequently, Morikawa had only recently added the TP Juno to his golf bag.
The TP Juno is one of TaylorMade’s few blade putters offering, but this doesn’t affect the quality of these putters. The dual weight system, on the sole of the club, is fitted with one adjustable weight located near the heel and another near the toe of the club.
What you’ll like about the TaylorMade TP Juno putter:
- Simplistic blade design
- The blade body allows for more control over the ball at impact
- Great feel for the ball because of the face insert
Picking the right golf clubs to play in the Open is a meticulous task. The courses it’s usually played on are very different from anything you’re used to seeing in North America. With the right clubs in hand, however, half the battle won is won for the golfer playing in the event. The same is true for this year’s winner who’ll need to have the right club in the bag, especially on a baked-out Old Course.
Until next time,
The Golf Avenue team
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