NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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When James Piot won the U.S. Amateur two weeks ago at Oakmont, many noticed that his putter looked like it could have been used in the 1960s. Sure enough, Piot has a fitting nickname for the dusty old wand: the garbage putter.
About 10 years ago, Piot’s dad found the Ping i-Series Piper H putter in a golf shop just down the road from their house in Canton, Michigan, and bought it for $60. He only used it for two weeks before shelving it for another flatstick.
His trash was a young Piot’s treasure.
“I picked it up in probably sixth or seventh grade and started rolling with it,” Piot said. “I was like, ‘This thing is actually awesome.’ They actually nicknamed it the garbage putter, because I got a line drawn on it and it’s just – it’s not the best looking thing.
“As far as you got guys that have the Scotty blades, Circle Ts, Ping putters, but I rolled with (the garbage putter) through my junior golf career, a lot in high school. I bounced around putters a lot, and then in college I kind of brought it back in the bag for a few events.
“Then I was rolling with the Toulon for two years, and I was like, ‘You know, this is nice, but I need a change of scenery.’ I was too cheap to go buy a putter, so I looked in the basement. ‘Oh, this thing is here.’ And then I went back to it probably middle of this summer.”
That turned out to be a brilliant move. Piot shot a 62 in the Southern Amateur, reached the Sweet 16 at the Western Amateur and then authored a brilliant putting performance at Oakmont in his U.S. Amateur triumph.
The putter with an ugly yellow line on the flange has been regripped three or four times, according to Piot.
“It’s survived a lot, believe me,” he said. “Yeah, that putter has been through it all.”
And it’s not going out of his bag anytime soon.
As for the most famous putter in golf history, backup versions of Tiger Woods’ iconic Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS are a hot commodity.
A backup version from Woods’ famous 2001 season recently earned $155,000 at auction, and an auction listing stated that another one of the backups could yield seven figures. This particular version comes with a 2003 letter from Scotty Cameron himself who describes the putter as solely made to be Woods’ backup.
“We spoke to one prominent Scotty Cameron collector who said it is his understanding that seven or so genuine Tiger red-dot ‘backups’ exist, including the offered putter,” the auction listing states. “When another well-regarded collector was asked whether a Tiger backup will sell for $1 million one day, his response was ‘100 percent.’ ”
Those putters aren’t just being sold to the highest bidders. Rickie Fowler has a putter from Woods’ old stock and Ross Fisher is one of the lucky few who has a Newport 2 head from the backup reserves once set aside for Woods.