TAYLORMADE’S ADRIAN RIETVELD ON MORIKAWA’S 2021 OPEN FIX
Tell us what happened before last year’s Open
Collin called me after his final round at the Scottish Open, and said he was not striking his mid and short-irons as well as he usually would. He felt his strike was fractionally off and it was exaggerated when trying to shape shots. He asked, “Can you do anything about it?” I needed time to think, but said I’d meet him at The Open the following day.
So what did you do?
Overnight, I’d thought about what Collin had described, and I started to think about the sole geometry differences between his Taylormade P730 (muscleback) 7, 8, 9-irons and PW, compared to his usual P7MC 5 and 6-irons. When we met on the Taylormade truck at Royal St George’s, he said he wasn’t sure if it was in his head, but he felt he was hitting the 6-iron better than the short irons. The P7MC irons have a fraction less leading edge relief and a little less bounce. So, if the P730 blades were bouncing a little in the turf, or not quite getting into the turf enough for the strike to be high enough on the face, then the strike would not feel good.
How did you fix it?
We had to build new P7MC 7, 8, 9-irons, plus a pitching wedge. When Collin arrived on Monday we had the clubs ready and headed to the range with a Trackman. He hit P7MC 7-iron versus P730 7-iron and worked his way down through the 8s, 9s and pitching wedges. We could see the MCS were launching fractionally higher (which is what a cavity iron does), but the strike was noticeably different in terms of sound. We looked at the numbers and when he started to hit more shaped shots, he noticed how he was getting a little more control and consistency. The window was a little lower with the P730 blades than he was used to on lush US courses, so the switch made sense.
How unusual is it for players to make wholesale equipment changes at a Major?
It’s extremely rare, but if someone is struggling, changing their equipment could be a lifeline to finding their game. Collin did it for the right reasons – to put himself in a position to win the tournament, and bear in mind he’s already the best iron player in the world. Nine times out of 10 we’d be trying to talk a guy out of doing what he did, but this is what we live for. It’s created a huge buzz throughout the company.
And you changed his putter, too?
He asked if any had a harder face as he was struggling with the slow greens in Scotland. He was thinking he might just need to adjust to hitting putts harder, but I suggested putting heavier weights in his current head. All of a sudden, the speed and distance matched what he expected.