NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Jon Rahm may have left the Memorial Tournament with a heartbreaking positive COVID-19 test that wiped away a chance for his sixth PGA Tour title, but he also left with a new putter that could bode well for him at this week’s U.S. Open.
Rahm ranks No. 82 in strokes gained putting this season after being No. 22 last year and No. 36 two years ago, so the Spaniard debuted an Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S in Ohio to see if he could turn the tide. The putter has a short slant neck instead of the double-bend shaft he had been using, a feature that pairs better with a recent change in stroke mechanics Rahm has been trying to implement. The slant neck was in Rahm’s old TaylorMade Spider before he signed with Callaway at the beginning of this year and had to find an Odyssey replacement.
Another critical switch with the putter is the insert. Rahm went with a White Hot Microhinge that offers a quicker roll off the face and allows him to be more aggressive in getting putts to the hole.
At Memorial, Rahm gained 1.88 strokes on the greens for his three rounds, a number that was on track to be second in the field had he completed the tournament. It was his best putting effort since the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, host of the U.S. Open and a course where Rahm earned his first tour victory at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. In five starts in that event, Rahm has four top-10s and is a combined 40-under on the par-5s.
Rahm is not the only player heading to La Jolla with a new putter in his bag. Collin Morikawa went online to TaylorMade’s MyTP site where you can design your own putter, similar to the way car dealerships allow customers to outfit their own vehicles. He had been using an FCG TaylorMade mallet but was having difficulty with aim, so he went back to a blade-style putter.
Morikawa has gone to a more “hands pressed forward” technique with his putter, so the loft on his new flat stick was reduced to match that. A stainless steel insert also was added to the face to provide a firmer feel.
“I just wanted to go back to a blade because I’ve putted with a blade my entire life,” Morikawa said. “Why not just go back and figure out the things that I’ve been working on and forget about the stroke, forget about the putter, just try to make the putt.”
Morikawa ranks No. 161 in strokes gained putting this season, but he was No. 6 at Memorial on his way to a playoff runner-up finish to Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay also is fresh off a putter change, winning in his fourth start with a Scotty Cameron X5 Tour prototype.
Among other storylines to watch heading to Torrey Pines: Rory McIlroy has gone back to a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 70 XTS shaft in his new 8-degree TaylorMade SIM2 Max driver; Justin Thomas went to a Titleist TSi2 driver; and Joaquín Niemann went to a 10.5-degree Ping G425 LST driver.