Tiger Woods contemplates a putter change on the eve of first major

Any time Tiger Woods considers changing putters it is big news, but it is next level when he’s flirting with benching his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS gamer, the one he’s used for 14 of his 15 major titles, the week of a major championship. Even U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, who played a practice round with Woods on Wednesday at TPC Harding Park, was interested in this latest development.

“I asked him about the putter switch. It’s basically the same putter with a little bit more flexibility in the putter. He’s able to change the weights around a little bit…he’s got a little more length on there, and that’s just so he can practice a little bit more without back pain,” he said. “That’s what excites him the most is that he was able to put in a lot of time with this putter, and watching him putt, it looked exactly the same to me. He rolled the ball great.”

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The new putter is a Scotty Cameron prototype that Woods first began dabbling with at the British Open last summer, and has been practicing with ever since, according to Golf Channel, and will be a game-time decision.

Woods has struggled on the greens in his limited action this season. He ranked near the bottom of the Strokes Gained: Putting statistics at The Memorial, his lone start since the golf season resumed in June, and was No. 67 of 68 players to make the cut at the Genesis Invitational. As a matter of fact, if Woods had played enough rounds to qualify to be ranked in the season’s leaders, he would be No. 207 out of 214 golfers on Tour in SGP this season. That’s hard to fathom from arguably the greatest clutch putter of all-time.

PGA Championship

Tiger Woods looks at his yardage book on the 11th hole during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Stricker has served as Tiger’s unofficial putting coach for a number of years, and recalled the time at the 2013 WGC at Doral Resort when he finished second to Woods after giving him a pre-tournament tip.

“It was amazing to be a part of that little lesson with him, because I watched a guy struggle from the week before, I guess that he played, not putting very well, and then watching him on the putting green wasn’t very good. And then by the time the 45 minutes or an hour was up that I was putting with him, the confidence that he had was like a light switch; a light bulb went on for him. And then he made a lot of putts in the first and second rounds and his confidence just grew,” he said. “For him that week, if I remember right, it was a lot of the setup and the path of what his putter was going back on, and so I just worked on the setup a little bit, I remember, that week. But I didn’t touch him today. I didn’t want anything to do with that.

“He’s Tiger Woods. He’ll be just fine. He’s got a lot of talent when it comes to that short stick and he’ll do just fine.”

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