LAHAINA, HI – JANUARY 06: Dustin Johnson of the United States plays his shot from the 18th tee during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 6, 2018 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
By E. Michael Johnson
They say numbers don’t lie but in the case of the driving distance stat at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, there was a little fibbing going on. The stat revealed Dustin Johnson with a distance average of just 296.3 yards for the week and 297 yards on Sunday. But when the World No. 1 stepped to the 12th tee Sunday at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, he took out his frustration from a bogey on the prior hole by blasting a tee shot with his TaylorMade M4 driver some 430 yards to within tap-in distance on the par-4 12th. The eagle started Johnson on a run where he extended his lead by going five under par over five holes, eventually winning by eight shots with a 24-under-par 268. On Sunday Johnson hit six drives in excess of 370 yards with two longer than 400 yards.
The driver (as well as is sister M3 model) features a technology called Twist Face, where the face curves more open as it moves toward the toe and curves more closed as it moves toward the heel. Although it isn’t really detectable at address, the idea is to help off-center hits fly straighter than they would with conventional bulge and roll.
Johnson tried both the M3 and M4 in practice early in the week and after noticing he wasn’t getting the fade off the tee he prefers with the M4, the driver was adjusted one click open, back to the standard setting. Although Johnson might use the M3 at some point, he felt the M4 was straighter, putting it in play.
Johnson also had the company’s Spider Tour Black mallet putter as well as DJ Prototype muscleback blade irons as well as a 64-degree Milled Grind Hi-Toe wedge where the grooves extend all the way across the face.
Dustin Johnson’s clubs at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (Fujikura Speeder Evolution X), 9.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M4, 16.5 degrees
Irons (3): TaylorMade P790; (4-PW): TaylorMade DJ Prototype
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 60 degrees); TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (64 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour