Despite being almost exclusively a golf equipment site, discussing PGA Tour wins for the sake of golf gear promotion isn’t something we do very much of around here, and I can assure you, I don’t plan to make a habit of it. Pay for play renders a good bit of the equipment count stuff meaningless, and ultimately players, not their equipment, win tournaments. The recently completed Honda Classic, however, is a noteworthy exception.
For those who don’t obsess over golf gear, the storyline is pretty simple. Keith Mitchell, who many of you probably hadn’t heard of before yesterday, won for the first time on the PGA Tour. A Mizuno staffer, Mitchell played Mizuno irons (MP-18s). In fact, it was a solid weekend overall for Mizuno with top-of-the-leaderboard guys like Mitchell, Brooks Koepka, Lucas Glover, and Vijay Singh all bagging Mizuno irons, but what makes this story unique is Mitchell’s driver. Specifically, Mitchell played a Mizuno ST190, and in doing so, gave Mizuno its first driver win in more than a little while.
Consider this an unofficial stat, because even the guys at Mizuno I checked with sounded less than completely positive, but to the best of anyone’s recollection, the last time a Mizuno driver was in a PGA Tour winner’s bag was (fittingly enough) Vijay Singh…when he won the Masters…in 2000.
To say Mizuno is known more for irons than metalwoods is an understatement, but nevertheless, it seems unfathomable that the company would go nearly 19-years between driver wins on Tour. And yet, that appears to be exactly what happened.
If TaylorMade goes 3 weeks without a win, it’s a legitimate drought. Callaway and Titleist have been winning counts all season, PING wins plenty, and between Rickie and Bryson, Cobra puts more than its fair share of checkmarks in the win column, but Mizuno…19 freakin’ years.
What About Luke Donald?
As most know, Luke Donald is a long-time Mizuno staffer, and not all that long ago was the #1 ranked player in the world. Surely he must of have won with a Mizuno driver, right?
Despite being the face of the brand, Donald, we’re told, won primarily with TaylorMade, with some Titleist in the mix. He never won with a Mizuno driver, which almost certainly contributed to Mizuno’s declining metalwoods reputation.
Keith Mitchell’s win changes all that. That’s not to say we expect Mizuno to crack the top 5 at retail anytime soon, but Mitchell’s victory does provide the brand’s metalwoods with a degree of validation and credibility that’s been lacking for almost two decades.
Congrats, Keith Mitchell, and welcome back, Mizuno.
Have Your Say
Does Keith Mitchell’s win and the Tour validation that comes with it make you more interested in trying Mizuno’s new driver?