Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson have won big events after changing putters, so will you experience more success with a new flatstick?
Putter usage on tour is a funny business. Some players have used the same model for years while others chop and change nearly every week. Although club amateur golfers don’t really have that luxury, a lot can be said for a change in flatstick. This has really come to light in recent weeks after both Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy won a FedEx Cup playoff event having recently changed their putters.
In fact, three of the top four players in the world have changed putters this year, the exception being Jordan Spieth who continues to use his Scotty Cameron 009 Prototype to deadly effect, the same putter he has used since he was 15-years old.
Given that Spieth is one of the best putters in the game, there are clearly arguments for and against regular change. With any new club in the bag comes a new mindset, a fresh start and a clean slate. Memories of previous woes turn into excitement and anticipation… unless you’re Sergio Garcia, whose recent putter change just ended in his frustration boiling over, as you’ll see in the video below!
So what are the top four players in the world putting with and why did the majority of them decide to change their putters?
After Nike announced they would no longer be making golf equipment, world No. 3 Rory McIlroy ditched his Method Origin B2-01 Prototype that he had struggled with all year in favour of a Scotty Cameron M1 Prototype at the Barclays, the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
He finished T31st there but then went on to win the following week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, having also worked with putting guru Phil Kenyon and changing a few minor things in his technique. He led the field in putts per green in regulation and ultimately, the combination of new coach and putter gave him the reward his excellent ball striking deserved.
Dustin Johnson’s putter switch wasn’t quite as gradual. The world No.2 swapped his TaylorMade Ghost Tour Dayton 62 putter for the last four holes of his pro-am round on the Wednesday of the BMW Championship, opting for his brother’s grey TaylorMade Spider Limited mallet. After Thursday’s round, he led the field in strokes gained putting and finished second in this category (plus 7.307) for the week. He also finished top in putts per green in regulation (1.510).
“I messed around with it before, but I just I felt like I’ve just been struggling to get the putter on line, like the line that I was seeing,” Johnson said. “And so yeah, TaylorMade sent me one of those and I started rolling it and it felt pretty good.”
For Jason Day, it was a change in colour that really helped change his fortune on the greens. Having used a TaylorMade Ghost Spider Itsy Bitsy prototype mallet dating back to the 2014 Barclays, the world No.1 changed at Harbour Town Links this year, swapping it for Spider Limited Red.
It was inspired by Day, who came to TaylorMade last fall with the request for a putter similar to his Ghost Spider Itsy Bitsy prototype that incorporated the color red, which happens to be one of his favourite colours similar to the red streak found on the abdomen of the Redback Spider that’s indigenous to Day’s native Australia.
Working directly with Day, TaylorMade designers added a dark red to the head and a few weeks after switching, he won the Players Championship. The putter then became available to retail with a white sight line on the middle of the crown to assist amateur golfers with alignment.