What Happened with Justin Rose and Honma? What is now in Justin Rose’s golf bag for 2020?
What Happened with Justin Rose and Honma? What is now in Justin Rose’s golf bag?
In this article I am going to state my personal opinion on what happened with Justin Rose and Honma, I will discuss what golf clubs he is currently gaming for his fourteen golf clubs, and what I think about the whole situation on leaving TaylorMade to Honma and now becoming a free agent.
So, recently Honma announced the following statement
“Honma Golf Limited announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”
“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” stated John Kawaja, president of Honma Golf North America.”
Justin Rose Leaving TaylorMade
So, before Justin Rose joined Honma, in 2019 like most people I was shocked that Justin was leaving TaylorMade, but if you had said he was leaving TaylorMade to move to Titleist or Ping or one of the other Major well-known brands, I would not have been as surprised, but to join Honma a relatively unknown brand outside of Asia.
Like most people I will be honest and state I didn’t know who they were. I knew of amazing other Japanese brands like Muira and obviously Mizuno and Srixon among others, which I have great affection for.
But, Rose after hitting the number one spot and becoming the PGA best player in the world and raining FedEx Champion with the Olympic gold medal to boot, to then be leaving TaylorMade sent shock waves across the golfing world.
So, Rose Tweeted at the start of 2019
“Hello 2019….. I’ve been waiting for you ! Excited to move into the new year with Honma equipment! New years resolutions….. 1) Play a club that looks exactly like I want. 2) Play a club that feels and performs exactly how I want”
What does this mean for Justin Rose?
Even though this didn’t seem to work out for Justin, I give him huge kudos and will not be a naysayer.
It is nothing to do with him being British, I also love what Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and other Brits like Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick are doing.
Me being a golf fanatic I want to see what the elite players CHOOSE to play, rather than contracted to play.
Not saying that all contracted players do not have choice, for instance Luke Donald who plays all Mizuno clubs can choose if he wants to put the latest in the bag, or keep his older model, Padraig Harrington games Wilson, and he helps develop their range of irons and he has a more collaborative approach to club design and selection, and the new Wilson Staff irons look AMAZING.
But it is apparent that certain brands in golf force their staff players to use the latest irons or driver. Which is totally understandable. If you are paying me so much to money to play their clubs, then they have the right to dictate what clubs you play.
Business for the manufacturers means selling the latest product to you and me.
Being on the outside the golf industry and just looking in, and seeing the money available from winning tournaments to sponsorship deals, for shoes and clothes, watches and other related and non related industries. I have always wondered why some golfers go for a club deal, as I find it risky to have to play a certain club brand, which could change how you perform. It is understandable for certain guys, like Lee Westwood, he has been with Ping his whole career and probably his club fitters know what Lee requires before he does.
As a spectator I really love to see what the non-contracted guys choose. Which highlights the free choice they have, and what they believe is the best gear on the market for their game.
So, back to the Justin Rose situation, he left TaylorMade because it seems he wanted his own free choice and be part of the development process, he accepted a 10-club deal with Honma.
Do Professionals Golfers only choose club manufacturers because of money?
So, my personal opinion on this is I am sure it is a benefit, but I think it is far less important than a number of other factors.
Before I start this, I want to point out that I really like the TaylorMade line up and LOVE the new SIM driver.
We, as amateurs seem to be obsessed with money, and believe that only the top sportsmen and women make decisions based on cold hard cash.
Which from joe publics perspective would be correct, because the normal person does not have a massive amount of excess money, but money is only really important if you do not have it.
If for instance in Justin Rose’s case, he has just won the Fed Ex for circa Eight Million Dollars.
So, what is another two million or five million on top of his $50 plus million he has already won, never mind his other endorsements.
Once you get to a certain level of liquidity, money is not a key motivator, and this would be true for any person.
An example of this is Bill Gates, he has however many Billion dollars, so what would another $50 million do for him?
The answer is nothing.
What I believe is important to people like Justin, and other of the top sportsmen and women, are other motivating factors such as feeling valued, feeling supported, feeling important and being successful.
So, what is being successful for Justin Rose?
It would mean winning PGA/European tournaments, and ultimately more Major Championships.
A further factor which seems to have been a motivator for Justin Rose and his team, was the relationship he has/had with the Strategic advisor Mark King who moved to Honma from TaylorMade.
Mark King has just left Honma to become the new CEO of Taco Bell, which could or could not have any bearing on Justin Rose leaving Honma, but it does seem quite a significant coincidence.
When Justin Rose was number one in the world did he feel as important as say Tiger Woods or Rory Mcilroy at TaylorMade?
Was he happy that he had to keep gaming the latest equipment each year?
These are the questions I pose to you, what do you think?
I believe not, but again that is one person’s opinion.
Obviously, I can only assume, but what I am trying to point out is, we as avid watchers of the game of golf have to look deeper into why, what and how of our favourite golfers, and look at the drivers and motivators of these elite sportsmen and women.
We need to stop focusing on the money only, and understand all the factors behind the scenes.
Before you start feeling sorry for Justin, I am sure he will be ok on the sponsorship front.
Justin has six sponsors, with his affiliations with Bonobos, Hublot, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Zurich and Lamkin.
Since the split with Honma and Justin Rose, do I think he made a mistake leaving Taylor made?
I would say he has not, you really only regret the stuff you do not do, and Justin has tried Honma, and maybe it didn’t quite work out for him, but I am sure he has learnt a lot, and now he can game whatever clubs, irons and putter he wants, from any manufacturer, and by the way that might be Honma or TaylorMade or any of the other manufacturers available.
What I will stipulate now is for me, it is far more important and I will sit up and take notice of what’s in his bag, I will know he chose the fourteen clubs in his bag and he wasn’t contracted to play them.
What is in Justin Rose’s Golf Bag in 2020
Justin Rose is currently gaming the following clubs.
The fourteen clubs that Justin is gaming has been mixed up for 2020, he is currently using four brands in his bag of fourteen clubs.
For the main core he has gone back to what he knows, and that is with TaylorMade.
Then we have entries from Cobra and Titleist, and using his current putter the Axis 1.
Driver – TaylorMade SIM
Shaft – Mitsubishi Diamana D+ LTD
3 Wood – TaylorMade SIM Max is 14.5 degree
Shaft – Mitsubishi Diamana D+ LTD
4 Wood – Cobra King Speedzone Tour is 16.5 Degree
Shaft – Mitsubishi Diamana D+ LTD
The Driver and Fairway wood line is really interesting but what stands out to me is the consistency of the shafts in each of the clubs, please check out our shaft review article in the link to explain why, How Important is the Shaft in a Driver?.
Irons – TaylorMade P-730
Shaft- Project X 6.5
Which is very interesting as Rose actually had his own Prototype made when at Taylormade but he has opted to use the more standard version available on the mass market
Titleist Vokey SM8 – RAW (Gaming the 52 Degree in 12 degree of bounce, 56 degree in 8 degree of bounce, and finally the 60 degree in the 6 degree of bounce, but in the much larger sole of the K Grind)
52 Degree – Titleist Vokey SM8
56 Degree – Titleist Vokey SM8
60 Degree – Titleist Vokey SM8
Axis 1 Rose Prototype with the Lamkin Flat Cat Grip
Finally, I am really excited to see what 2020 brings for Justin Rose and the other players who are not contracted, and see how these guys perform. I have a feeling Justin will be back to his best, and love his new club line up. Let’s see if more top players leave their club sponsored deals to be able to game whatever they want. I for one will be waiting and watching in anticipation, but would also not be surprised if Justin signed another deal with a big brand again. Golf always keeps surprising me.