Teams USA and Europe will battle it out once again in the 2018 Ryder Cup, this year at Le Golf National in France. The USA are the holders of the famous cup, and Europe will be hard pushed to wrench it from the Americans when the competition tees off on the 28th of September. Europe are not favoured to win this year, but perhaps their key to victory lies in what they are keeping in their tour bags.
Arguably Europe’s most in-form player is Francesco Molinari. The Italian won the Open earlier this year, and that major triumph will mean many American golfers will be hoping to avoid playing against him. Le Golf National has a lot of water hazards in play so there’s a chance we’ll see plenty of stray shots, as players might find the risk and reward nature of the course too tempting. Hoping to avoid the water altogether, Molinari will be teeing off with his TaylorMade M4 driver and M3 3-wood. He plays with P790 and P750 irons. The putter he’ll be relying on is the Bettinardi DASS BBZero, and he’ll be knocking Titleist Pro V1x balls around the course all weekend long.
When Justin Rose won at the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational, he practically cruised to victory over runner-up Brooks Koepka. His key to that victory? His unwavering precision all tournament long. He won in Fort Worth thanks to the TaylorMade M3 440 driver, as well as the M4 3-wood and M3 5-wood. He uses both TaylorMade 7P790 and P730 “Rose Proto” irons. His entire bag is filled with TaylorMade gear, and he’ll be using the TP Red Ardmore 2 putter and Milled Grind wedges in and around the greens. Rose will be hitting TaylorMade TP5 balls in Paris.
Tommy Fleetwood finds himself in an awkward position heading into the Ryder Cup. He uses the Nike VR Pro Blades but is down to his last set, and the sports company will not be making any more. So he has allegedly turned to fellow countryman Paul Casey to see if he can borrow his should something happen to his own set of irons. If the unthinkable happens, Fleetwood could be pleading with Casey for the lend of his VR Pros.
After Nike withdrew from making golf equipment McIlroy signed a deal with TaylorMade and his entire bag is full of gear from the manufacturer. He uses the M3 driver and 3-wood, while his distance irons are the P790 UDI and P750. Shorter irons are the P730, and when on or near the green he’ll use the TP Collection putter and the Milled Grind wedges. McIlroy will be using the TaylorMade TP5x balls while on the course at Le Golf National.
Poulter hadn’t won on tour for six years until he triumphed at the 2018 Houston Open on the 1st of April. He won that competition by forcing extra holes with his final shot in regulation. He uses mostly Titleist equipment and chooses a 917D2 driver alongside a 917F2 3-wood. Poulter has a hybrid in his bag, the Titleist 816 H2, and uses a combination of 716T-MB and 718 AP2 irons. He’ll be yet another pro using the Titleist Pro V1x balls and will use the Vokey Design SM7 wedges for his approach play. Poulter went back to the putter that brought him success earlier in his career, the Odyssey #7. He said he had meddled too much with his game and went back to the putter he had good memories with; that way he could only blame himself and not the club for missing his putts.
Brooks Koepka is on fire at the moment, winning his third major in 14 months by triumphing at the PGA Championship with a two-shot lead over Tiger Woods at Bellerive Golf Course. Koepka is a big-hitter from the tee and will rely on his TaylorMade M3 driver and M2 Tour HL 3-wood. He uses a mixture of Nike Vapor Fly Pro and Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons and will be putting faith in his Scotty Cameron T10 Select Newport 2 to close out his holes with. The balls he’ll be using are Titleist Pro V1x, while he’ll test his short game with his Titleist Vokey SM7 wedges.
Throughout his entire golf career, Dustin Johnson has been using TaylorMade clubs, and he’ll once again be packing his bag full of his favourite manufacturer’s clubs. He’ll be teeing off with the TaylorMade M4 driver and M4 HL 4-wood. Johnson uses the TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto irons and the Milled Grind wedges. To complete his entire TaylorMade bag, his putter is the Spider Mini, and the balls are the TP5x’s. 2016 was Johnson’s year as he took home the Masters, US Open, helped USA win the Ryder Cup, and was the PGA Player of the Year. He’ll hope to recapture the form of two years ago while playing against the Europeans in Paris.
One of the in-form players coming into the year’s Ryder Cup is Justin Thomas. He’ll address the ball in the tee box with his Titleist TS3 driver and 3-wood, while his 5-wood is the 915Fd from the same manufacturer. Thomas allegedly took just 30 minutes to be convinced he should fill his bag with Titleist irons. He set up on the TrackMan, hit all the shots he wanted, then pulled out his old clubs and threw his news ones in. That was back in 2017, and he’s gone on to do great things with his new clubs. He’ll be hitting the Vokey Design SM5 and SM6 wedges near the greens while his putter is the Scotty Cameron X5 Flow Neck Prototype.
Rickie Fowler has been at the top of the sport for some time now, and he is one of the few elite tour pros using Cobra equipment, along with Bryson DeChambeau. He uses the Cobra King F8+ driver and 5-wood, while he uses the Cobra F8+ 3-wood. His irons are the Cobra King Forged MB while his wedges are Cobra King V-Grinds. He’ll be using the Titleist Pro V1 ball and the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS Prototype to try and drain his putts with. His Scotty Cameron was rumoured to have been made for Tiger before Fowler started using it.
There is a lot of anticipation to see Tiger in action at this year’s Ryder Cup. He didn’t qualify for an automatic spot but thanks to recent good form was always going to make Furyk’s team. He spent a long time as Nike’s poster boy, but there isn’t any of the sports company’s equipment in his bag, especially as they stopped making new clubs in 2017. He uses the TaylorMade M3 driver and 3-wood while his irons are TaylorMade TW Phase 1 Prototypes. He’ll be using the Milled Grind wedges and Ardmore 3 putter, both from TaylorMade. His balls are Bridgestone Tour B XS after he signed a deal with the company back in 2016.
We've seen what the professionals will have in their bags this Ryder Cup, but how about you? What would be in your bag if faced with the challenge of the Old Course, St Andrews?