NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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It can be difficult to visualize numbers, but Odyssey successfully did just that for Jon Rahm.
Odyssey surprised the Range Rat by releasing two putter lines in November rather than waiting for the traditional January date. The Ai-ONE and Ai-ONE Milled putters were engineered utilizing artificial intelligence. Odyssey touts that A.I. helped the company construct a face that leads to more consistent speed control across all putts, regardless of whether contact is in the middle of the face or not.
How much more consistent? Up to about 21 percent, brand reps say.
But while it sounds good in a press release, that number takes on new meaning when put into the context of Rahm’s putting performance.
Before the FedEx Cup playoffs, Rahm went to California for his quarterly meeting with Callaway. It was there when the putter pitch was made for the Ai-ONE.
Odyssey reps made their point using numbers. Data were presented that showed how a 34-foot putt is roughly the point where PGA Tour players are more likely to three-putt than to hole the putt.
Rahm had 66 putts from 30-35 feet this past season. He made five of them and left himself an average of 2.74 feet for his second putt. But on 23 occasions, he did not get his first putt within 3 feet.
In fact, of all his putts throughout the season, Rahm left 133 tries outside of 3 feet.
This is an important number because tour pros are virtually guaranteed to make putts within that 3-foot circle – Rahm missed only one of those in 506 attempts.
But make percentages decrease significantly as they get farther away from that circle. For instance, Rahm made only 70 percent of his 5-6 footers throughout the year.
Odyssey reps determined that if Rahm had been 21-percent better with speed control, his three-putts would have reduced from 23 to 12. That would be worth about 15 spots on the strokes gained putting list.
It’s also worth real money. The reps think those three-putts cost Rahm $2.5 million.
With those numbers as evidence, Rahm was persuaded to put the Ai-ONE Rossie S in his bag right away at the BMW Championship.
The science was put to the test at the Ryder Cup, and one moment in particular stood out. In his singles match against Scottie Scheffler, Rahm successfully lagged a 90-foot eagle putt to within a few inches of the hole. It was a beautiful putt, but Rahm said he actually hit it off the heel.
Normally, that might take several feet off the putt. In this case, the new putter face may have saved him as he halved the match in the Europeans' victory.