The 2018 PGA TOUR season tees off at Kapalua on the Hawaiian island of Maui. With a field consisting solely of last year’s champions, proven PGA TOUR winners look to carry the momentum they picked up in 2017 and start the new season in the winning column. Among the most accomplished players in the Sentry Tournament of Champions field are TaylorMade staffers Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.
Coming off his major championship breakthrough at the 2016 U.S. Open, DJ steamrolled into the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) after his win at the Genesis Open, before further solidifying his ranking with victories at back-to-back WGC events and the Northern Trust Open. Then there’s Jon Rahm… Rahm made his name known after a dramatic victory at Torrey Pines, and he didn’t stop there. The young Spaniard went on to win three times in three different contents on his way to earning the European Tour Rookie of the Year title and catapulting to the No. 4 spot in the OWGR.
But now, they shift their focus to 2018…
Each player undoubtedly has their sights set on more Tour victories and major championships, and each player has shown they have the talent to make it happen. But this year, they will be aided by a new twist on Tour.
Today, TaylorMade unveiled the new M3 and M4 drivers, each with a breakthrough new technology called Twist Face. With a face that has literally been twisted utilizing carefully modified face contours that improve accuracy, DJ and Rahm each have a new weapon in their arsenal out at Kapalua.
Stay tuned to this page throughout this week’s practice rounds for photos as well as quotes and info from the players themselves as they put Twist Face on display at the Tournament of Champions.
For everything you need to know about Twist Face technology and the new M3 driver, M4 driver, metalwoods, and irons, CLICK HERE.
During a relatively slow New Years Day practice round at Kapaula, Jon Rahm was out on the course gearing up for his 2018 debut. Most notibly, Rahm has already upgraded his bag with a new M4 driver... a significant (and telling) change for one of the most prolific long-ball hitters on the PGA TOUR. And while he will likely opt to take 5-wood or less off the par-4 1st hole, get ready for Rahm to utilize his new M4 whenever he can.
Rahm was also seen testing a new M3 3-wood and 5-wood during his afternoon round.
DJ went off the tee at the crack of dawn with both an M3 and M4 driver in his bag.
Working with TaylorMade’s VP of Tour Operations, Keith Sbarbaro, to dial in his driver, DJ was noticing that he wasn’t quite getting the type of cut he was looking for off the tee. As a result, Keith adjusted the M4 “one-click” open (back to standard).
The results seem to immediately pay off, as DJ nearly drove the green on the 398-yard par-4 6th.
“If one’s going to make it to the green, it’s going to be that one right there!”
Ahead of the Tournament of Champions, DJ spent some time in Hawaii working with both the M3 and M4 drivers. At first, he was "all about the M3," but after experimenting further, he felt that he was able to hit M4 straighter, which is why he is leaning that direction for tournament play at Kapalua.
Jon Rahm arrived on the range at the Plantation Course for a mid-afternoon warm-up before his practice round.
While his time was primarily spent to get loose before hitting the course, he also spend some time with TaylorMade's Tour staff to optimize his M3 fairway. During Monday's round, Rahm had both an M3 fairway as well as his old M1 fairway in the bag... but much like the adjustment made to DJ's driver, simply adjusting the Loft Sleeve a bit more upright had Jon striping his M3 out on the range.
Before heading to the first tee, the M3 appears to have a permanant place in Rahm's bag for the Tournament of Champions.
It was a "dark and early" start to Wednesday's Pro-Am at the Tournament of Champions. The 7:00 AM starting tee times left Tour players and amatuers alike warming up on the range lit only by floodlights.
Among the dedicated early risers was Jon Rahm, going through his warm-up routine ahead of the round.
While Pro-Ams present a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many amateur golfers, it is also an opportunity for PGA TOUR athletes to finalize their equipment setup ahead of Thursday's opening round.
Rahm has kept his new M4 driver in the bag all week, and it's safe to say that it will be in play come Thursday. Addionally, he has favored his new 15° M3 fairway throughout the practice rounds, which will likely replace last year's M1 fairway club.
The last big decision for Rahm is whether to play his new M3 5-wood or stick with his P790 long iron. After consulting with his caddie, Rahm is steering toward putting the M3 5-wood in play instead. The reasoning being that he will be able to get the ball up in the air easier when being faced with the inevitable down-hill lies, especially on the par 5s at the Plantation Course.
Ultimately, this means that we will likely see a full setup of 2018 TaylorMade metalwoods in the bag for Rahm as he kicks off the new PGA TOUR season.
It has only been 3 practice round into the 2018 season, and Tour player adoption of new equipment has been rapid. There has been nearly zero hesitation for the best in the world to make significant changes to their bag. TaylorMade's PGA TOUR Manager, Todd Chew, attributes this quick adoption to what the players are seeing in testing.
"They're just really great products. Our Tour players are seeing more ballspeed in both the M3 and M4 drivers, and the concept of Twist Face is something that really resonates with these guys. It's a similar story with the fairway clubs as well. They're noticing more forgiveness across the board, and they seem to love the new silver crown cosmetics."
- Todd Chew | TaylorMade PGA TOUR Manager
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