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'It freed me up': Scottie Scheffler's confidence-boosting putting change, explained

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Scottie Scheffler's putter was the topic of conversation early at the 2024 Players Championship. After taking Rory McIlroy's advice to switch to a mallet, Scheffler put a new TaylorMade Spider Tour putter in the bag and dropped a series of important putts throughout the week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and stormed to a five-shot victory.

But while the magic putter storyline is an easy one to gravitate towards—and, clearly one with some truth to it—the fact remains that it's not quite that simple.

Scheffler has used a mallet before in competition multiple times, and tested a similar TaylorMade Spider Tour model at the FedEx St. Jude Championship last year. Since then Scheffler enlisted renowned putting coach Phil Kenyon and made multiple changes to his technique.

In a nutshell, Scheffler's issue stemmed from various misalignments at setup. He tended to aim his feet to the right of his intended target, and his shoulders left. It created a series of compensations that led to an inconsistent heel strike, he explains.

"It just became kind of my miss," Scheffler explains. "Just like if I was fighting a duck hook off the tee, I was fighting a little bit of a heel miss with the putter."

Why Scottie ditched the line

In addition to the setup changes Scheffler made, the World No. 1 began using a line on his golf ball. It was a solution that made sense: It allowed him to stay with his preferred blade putter, and helped his alignment. It's a common solution a lot of golfers land, because it makes sense.

But for Scheffler, it came with a trade-off: When he would see the line on his ball wobble after hitting a putt, it would rattle "doubt" and force him to try too hard.

As Scheffler explained on Tuesday:

"When you're not performing as well as you should at something, what is the solution always? Typically just to try harder at that thing," Scheffler says. "If that ball didn't roll end-over-end, at the back of your head, you're like, wait, did I hit that putt good?"

It was the combination of scrapping the line, and adopting a putter with enhanced alignment features, that landed Scheffler in the sweet spot. He found a way of aligning more accurately, without having to rely on the line.

It's given him a newfound sense of freedom, he says, which he hopes to carry into this week.

"I expected perfection out of myself, so when it comes to the putting, not using the line lets me be more free and not try as hard, which is a heck of a lot easier said than done because, worked my entire life to get here to the PGA TOUR," he said.

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David Cannon

"It's about sticking to my process and controlling what I can control, and that's having a good attitude and hitting a good putt, and something as simple as not using the line has freed me up, and helped a lot with that."