Mizuno believes that the gap between those at the top of the world rankings and the legions of professionals trying to carve a career on Tour is closing. With more players using its irons than any other brand of the last 8 years, Mizuno says it's reaping the rewards.
Englishmen Malcolm Mackenzie and Miles Tunnicliff, Dane Soren Hansen and Swedes Richard S Johnson and Adam Mednick made their breakthough wins on the 2002 European Tour, while Americans Jonathan Byrd, Bob Burns and New Zealander Phil Tataurangi also used Mizuno irons to score debut victories on the PGA Tour.
Says Mizuno's David Matthews: "There was a time when you could bank on the top 10 ranked players to win the majority of tournaments - but now any event can be won by almost any player. The increasing awareness of fitness, coaching and psychology allows everyone to be in contention."
He adds: "The bonus for Mizuno is that ours are the irons played by more professionals than any other brand. The levelling of abilities is helping us to win more tournaments."
Matthews believes the wins are a payback for an ethical Tour strategy: "We don't sign star players and we do not offer a payment to use Mizuno irons. It's a policy that keeps pressure on us to produce irons that professionals will play by choice.
"The forged irons on Tour are the same as the ones we sell to amateur golfers. This ensures that Mizuno customers get an iron of the very highest quality. It's not a strategy aimed at achieving high profile Tour wins, so they have come as a welcome bonus."
Following the success of Mizuno MP-33 and Pro II irons, many top players, says the company, are switching to the MP-30 irons with their unique Grain Flow Forging and subtle CAD-crafted, progressive half cavity and offset.
The product of Mizuno's goal to create 'a perfect, flawless iron', the clubs have a deeper cavity and more offset to improve playability in the long irons and shallower cavity and less offset to allow increased feedback and control in the shorter irons.
Similar forging has also been introduced into Mizuno's recently launched MP series RAW Black Ox wedges which are fast becoming prominent not only in the hands of Tour players, but also club golfers.
"There are so many equipment battles on Tour," says Matthews, "everyone is trying to knock each other off the top. Mizuno has made a conscious decision to invest in equipment rather than players. In the long term that will benefit both tour professionals and amateurs."