The Loop

The Loop

Mickelson makes switch to long putter official

September 02, 2011

NORTON, Mass. -- Keegan Bradley gives a lot of the credit for his PGA Championship victory to Phil Mickelson and if Lefty should one day add to his total of four majors, he may have to return the compliment to Keegan. Mickelson mentored Bradley about how to handle life on the PGA Tour and now Keegan is tutoring Phil on the art of the long putter.

Mickelson teed off in his first competitive round with the Odyssey Sabertooth 46 1/2 inch putter in his bag Friday as the Deutsche Bank Championship began at TPC Boston. And the switch had its roots in a conversation Mickelson had with Bradley, a discussion that remains ongoing.

"I played with Keegan Bradley and I asked him a bunch of questions and ended up having Odyssey make up an exact replica of the putter he has," Mickelson said. The only difference between the clubs is the insert. "I got it on Monday and I've been talking to him on the phone a little bit, little tidbits on ball position, setup and so forth."

Throughout his career, Mickelson has been one of those putters who makes a lot of 20 footers and misses way too many four footers -- especially at critical times, the back nine of this year's British Open being an example. In three-putt avoidance in the final round this year, Lefty is ranked T-134 on tour and in strokes-gained putting he is No. 87.

Bradley says Mickelson is a huge part of his success this year, a season that will likely end with him being Rookie of the Year and possibly Player of the Year. "He's a big part of the reason why I've won twice," Bradley said at TPC Boston. "He's helped me with my routine. He deserves a lot of credit. The guy is just really a great guy."

Mickelson is also a guy who is not shy about making radical equipment moves. He played the 2006 Masters with two drivers in his bag and in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, he carried no drivers. He also used Ping Eye 2 wedges at the Farmers Insurance Open last year to draw attention to the new USGA groove regulations.

"So many guys have had success with it that I thought I'd give it a try," Mickelson said about the long putter, which won its first PGA Tour major in Bradley's hands at Atlanta Athletic Club last month. Certainly, one of the side stories to this week's FedEx Cup Playoff event will be how he fares with the long putter. Stay tuned.

-- Ron Sirak