Details on the unusual putter Vijay Singh used to nearly make history at the Honda Classic
Vijay Singh darn near became the oldest player to ever win a PGA Tour event at last week’s Honda Classic, and he did so with a highly unusual putter manufactured by a PGA professional from Nebraska. Other equipment changes at PGA National were a little more mainstream, including a putter switch for the tournament’s champion, and a driver swap for one of the game’s longest hitters. In other words, just another week in the equipment world on the PGA Tour.
Vijay Singh contended through the weekend at the Honda Classic employing the JuanPutt, a long putter with an incredibly upright lie angle that is the brainchild of Juan Elizondo, a PGA professional from Nebraska. Elizondo received some notoriety a number of years ago when K.J. Choi used one of his putters in a side-saddle manner at the 2010 Open Championship. Singh, however, had much more success. “I've got the new putter,” he said. “It's a long putter, and that kind of inspired me, and I'm putting really well with it. … Standing over the putts, there's no fidgeting feelings or anything like that. I guarantee if I had a short putter I would feel a little tense and anxious, but with this long putter, I felt pretty much nothing.”
A good number of players (sometimes as much as 20 percent of the field) will make a putter change on any given week on the PGA Tour, seeking a little magic on the greens or simply a fresh look. That’s exactly what happened with Honda champion Keith Mitchell, who used a new TaylorMade Spider X in winning the tournament. Mitchell put the putter in play at the Honda after testing it on the practice green at PGA National. (TaylorMade had sent him a few models to try a couple of weeks earlier.) According to TaylorMade reps, Mitchell liked the ease of use with the sight line, saying it felt like it gave him better alignment. At the Honda Mitchell noted, “This week I’ve got a new putter in play and got back on my old greens and it’s feeling good.” Mitchell came into the Honda ranked 205th in strokes gained/putting at -0.795 but was 1.452 (ranked 38th) at PGA National, an improvement of more than two strokes per round.
Trey Mullinax is one the game’s longest hitters, having ranked second on the PGA Tour in driving distance in 207-18, averaging more than 318 yards per tee shot. That makes his change from a Ping G400 Max to the company’s new G410 Plus worth taking note of. Mullinax uses the 10.5-degree head but has the adjustable hosel in the small-minus position, making the effective loft 9.6 degrees. The 45-inch Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 60-TX shaft is tipped one inch and the swingweight checks in at D-4.