NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Tiger Woods hasn’t tinkered with putters much throughout his career, especially heading into a major championship. There’s good reason for that given the roughly $94 million he has won using his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS, not to mention 14 of his 15 major victories.
However, Woods surprised many when he showed up to the PGA Championship sporting a different version of that famous flat stick, this one slightly longer with a head that allows for the weighting to be changed. Woods has said putting is one of the more pain-inducing parts of the game for him to practice, and during an interview at TPC Harding Park he added that he uses the leading edge of his sand wedge to practice putting around his house because the added length relieves pressure on his back.
"I've been messing around with this putter for the better part of over a year," Woods said. "Rob (McNamara) and I have been talking about it. It's difficult for me to bend over at times, and I don't spend the hours practicing putting that I used to. It wasn't unusual for me to spend four, five, six hours putting per day. I certainly can't log that with my back being fused.
"Most of the guys on the Champions Tour have gone to longer putters as they have gotten older, because it's easier to not bend over. And so this putter is just a little bit longer and I've been able to spend a little bit more time putting."
The switch garnered a lot of pre-tournament attention and Woods made 115 feet worth of putts in the first round. He suggested the putter move was temporary but he could use the new model during certain weeks moving forward.
"There's something familiar with my other one," Woods said. "I've won a few events with it. But every now and again, it needs to be benched and this was a good week for it."
Woods may have created headlines, but there was another head-turning development last week at Harding Park. Three Ping players – Matt Fitzpatrick, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson – put a 9-wood into their bag. The company also had eight 7-woods in play, offering a unique solution to a firm set of greens.
And in one of the more humorous gear-related moments of the week, Brooks Koepka gave reporters a chuckle when discussing his driver switch on the eve of the year’s first major.
The two-time defending PGA champion Koepka had been using a Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero since February, but opted to go back to his TaylorMade M5 he has used often since becoming an equipment free agent at the end of 2016.
“When you’re swinging it well, it just goes back to the same thing I’ve done the last two years with that company,” Koepka said. “They don’t pay me, so I’m not mentioning their name.”