NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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Nelly Korda’s dominance on the greens in the past two weeks came not only by switching to a left-hand-low grip but by swapping putters as well.
Korda had been using a Scotty Cameron Select Concept 2 Prototype with a GSS insert but went to Cameron’s Special Select Squareback 2 starting with her victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan and continuing with her win a the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in Atlanta. The 22-year-old Floridian has used a blade throughout much of her career but was looking for help with distance control, leading to the move.
There was some symmetry between Korda and Jon Rahm, the recent U.S. Open champion who opted for an Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S putter during the Memorial Tournament. The new putter, which is longer than most at 37 inches, came as the result of an exhaustive process for which Rahm and Odyssey tour rep Joe Toulon needed several attempts to find the best putter combination for the Spaniard.
Rahm had been using a TaylorMade Spider heading into his new deal with Callaway, which he signed in January. He initially switched into a putter similar to the Spider – an Odyssey 2-Ball Ten – because it was the same style he had used in college at Arizona State and he felt comfortable with how the putter sat on the ground. However, after feeling like he wasn’t making enough putts in the 8- to 12-foot range, Rahm opted for the Rossie with an S-neck that helps him rotate the face better.
Rahm considers himself a feel player and hates having lines on his putter, so the Rossie sparked something in him on the greens. After making long left-to-right birdie putts on the 71st and 72nd holes at Torrey Pines that won him the U.S. Open by one stroke, Rahm pointed to the putter change as a critical reason for his victory.
“I’ve given them a headache,” Rahm joked. “I don’t know how many putters they’ve built for me to find the one I needed. And I’m pretty sure I found the one I need. It’s working really well. So thank you for all the hard work (to Toulon). We got one boys!”
Rahm also had a mention for those who suggested his move from TaylorMade to Callaway was unnecessary.
“For all those people that doubted the manufacturing change, there was a reason why I believe I could get better,” Rahm said. “The new ball and new irons allowed me to hit certain shots that I simply wasn’t capable of before.
“It showed. Some of those wedge shots and some of those long shots – that 8-iron at (the first hole), being able to hit that shot high with spin and see it go through the wind and land short of the pin, and many others like that as well. It allowed me to stay aggressive. I need to say a huge thanks to the team at Callaway.”
For every gear success there is someone else still trying to find a solution. Dustin Johnson had been using a TaylorMade SIM2 since the start of the year, but had been in an uncharacteristic slump – at least by his lofty standards – as he only had one top-10 finish in his previous nine starts before the Travelers Championship. That led him back to a TaylorMade SIM with a Fujikura Speeder 661X shaft.
Johnson ranked either first or second in strokes gained off the tee every year from 2015 to 2018, but he had fallen to 63rd before this year’s Masters. He came into last week at No. 19 in the critically important stat but suffered negative strokes-gained numbers in his first two rounds at the Travelers.