MIZUNO’S MAJOR BREAK
Koepka won the US Open with irons designed for him – but he didn’t know.
Mizuno’s JPX900 Tour irons came full circle at the US Open as they claimed victory in the hands of the specific player they were designed for. Chris Voshall, Mizuno Golf product engineer, tells the incredible story.
“Two years ago we were working on how the JPX range was going to evolve from the 850. We started looking at the disconnection between the JPX models, which are the majority of our sales, and our tour staff, who always played our MP models. We wanted to expand JPX beyond game improvement and make them more of a high-tech, aggressive and younger golf club. We decided to target a particular type of player as the visualisation of what JPX should be.”
This is where Brooks Koepka comes in. The bighitting and aggressive 27-year-old was exactly the type of player Mizuno wanted the JPX line to appeal to – and his Titleist contract was expiring.
“We knew his potential, so we designed the JPX900 Tour with him in mind as someone who’s long, swings hard and needs a little bit less spin. Unfortunately, he signed with Nike. We were disappointed at the time but Nike’s exit from hard goods last year left him open to try other things.”
Amazingly, it was Koepka’s management who approached Mizuno about trying the clubs, without any knowledge that the manufacturer had envisioned him as the new JPX range’s poster-boy.
“His specs are close to our standard in terms of length and head weight so we quickly provided him with some clubs. He was trying other irons too, so it was a waiting game. The next thing we know, he showed up with them in his bag at the Genesis Open in February.”
They’ve stayed in the bag ever since, with Koepka using them to devastating effect for his sensational -16 winning total at Erin Hills. Everyone loves a happy ending.