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Hideki Matsuyama's timely putter switch results in a green jacket

April 12, 2021

Ben Walton

Hideki Matsuyama, not known for his putting, is notorious for testing a new putter in the days ahead of a tournament. We have all the details behind a very timely putter switch he made just a few weeks before winning the Masters—in addition to a contender returning to a driver with some good vibes.

Success for Hideki Matsuyama after putter switch

Hideki Matsuyama used a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 tour prototype that he just put into play at the WGC-Dell Match Play, helping him him win his first major title. Matsuyama is known for constantly trying putters the week of a tournament, but he's often reluctant to actually change. His putter at the Masters previously served as a backup, but at the Match Play, Matsuyama worked with Cameron tour rep Drew Page, resulting in a shaft and grip change to better match the Newport 2 GSS Timeless that he had used since the 2020 BMW Championship.

At the Masters, Matsuyama used the putter effectively, as he finished tied for 10th in putts per green in regulation, 18th in strokes gained/putting and T-8 in one-putt percentage.

Kuchar goes reverse armlock with new putter

Jared C. Tilton

A new putting stroke resulted in a significant putter shift for Matt Kuchar at the Masters. Kuchar opted to try a stroke in which he arm-locked the putter to his right arm instead of his left, and he needed a new putter to accommodate the shift.

Kuchar visited Bettinardi’s Tinley Park, Ill., headquarters during the week of the BMW Championship last August and has been testing different heads, shaft angles and such since. Bettinardi’s design team and tour director, David Kubiak, have worked on the concept of right arm-lock with Kuchar for several months, experimenting with several head shapes and loft/lie angles.

Prior to getting to Augusta, Kuchar reached out to Bettinardi, wanting to continue testing right arm-lock when he arrived. Considering the fast greens, Kubiak began building a few models for Kuchar to make sure he had several options available.

Kuchar eventually settled on a Bettinardi BB8Tri-Plane blade, which was a new shape for Kuchar. The putter, which uses double-aged stainless steel for the head, was 40.5 inches in length with zero degrees of loft. An LA Golf shaft also was employed, and Kuchar liked the setup enough to put it in play.

Unfortunately, Kuchar got off to a rough start with a 78 before settling in with a second-round 70 that was one shot short of making the cut.

Rose returns to driver from 2017

Jared C. Tilton

When you rank 178th in strokes gained/off-the-tee, losing more than a third of a stroke per round, something has got to give. For Justin Rose, that meant a return to his 9-degree TaylorMade M1 440 2017 driver for the Masters. Rose used the same model when he won the 2017 WGC-HSBC Invitational.

The driver utilizes a dual weight-track system on the sole and Rose had the weights set slightly heelward with the other all the way back, presumably to promote a slight draw (always useful at Augusta National) and a higher launch. Rose finished seventh for his first top-10 showing since last August’s PGA Championship.

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