Australian star Jason Day has made a bold and risky gamble ahead of next month’s US Masters.
In an effort to add more length to his game for Augusta, Day has made the radical decision to switch all his irons, a move rarely considered by pros during the season.
The world No.5 won in the US recently but still maintains he can gain significant improvement from his shots to give him an edge – even though he will have just three weeks to acclimatise to the new clubs.
And he believes the action has already paid of.
The Queenslander finished in a tie for 17th at the weekend in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida – but more importantly he feels that with new heads and stronger shafts in his clubs he is already hitting the ball several metres further.
The tournament was his last before he tackles the Masters in which he was tied for second in 2011 and finished third in 2013.
The Bay Hill event was won by American Matt Every who, at 19 under the card, finished a shot ahead of Swede Henrik Stenson.
Sydney’s Matt Jones completed an impressive week when he claimed outright third place, a further shot back at 17 under par.
Day was nine under but well ahead of Adam Scott (T35) and Steven Bowditch (T62).
Victorian Marc Leishman and compatriots Rod Pampling and John Senden all missed the cut.
Day is already a long hitter, ranked seventh on the US PGA Tour in driving distance, but believes he can achieve more from his fairway shots. As a safety precaution, he has his old clubs in reserve.
"I feel really good about the change," Day told AAP. "Obviously I need to wear them in a little and get used to the changes but I feel confident.
"I just felt like I was hitting my old clubs a little too high, getting too much spin on them and wasn’t hitting them as far as I should be.
"You don’t typically change now, usually in the off-season, but my mindset behind the changes was to sacrifice a bit of ball flight and get more distance.
"Funnily it didn’t bring down the flight much but I am hitting it further, and that’s a good combination to have not only this week but going to Augusta," he said before Bay Hill.
"You need some height and length around there to attack certain pins and get an edge."
Day, who still leads the Tour in birdies with an average of 4.8 a round, has re-installed some confidence after a frustrating week at Doral where he slumped to finish in a share of 31st.
"I just want to really come back after a poor week," Day said.
"I was very angry at myself for making so many mental errors and finding so much water at Doral. I practiced hard in the lead up to here to work the kinks out.
"There was only one guy who had more birdies than me at Doral so I know I am doing a lot of good stuff. It was just I had a lot of bad stuff as well that week."
By: Robert Grant