124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Big Changes

Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy eye big equipment changes ahead of FedEx Cup Playoffs

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It is not unusual for PGA Tour players to change putters. But when you’re Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, and it appears you are doing so right before the FedEx Cup Playoffs, that’s news.

Our own Luke-Kerr Dineen snapped these photos of the pair on the putting clock at TPC Southwind, with McIlroy using a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Phantom X mallet instead of his TaylorMade Spider X. Interestingly, Scheffler did nearly the reverse, using a TaylorMade Spider X putter remarkably similar to what McIlroy had been using instead of his Scotty Cameron blade.

It's not exactly a “desperate times call for desperate measures” situation. After all, Scheffler is ranked No. 1 in the world with McIlroy right behind him. Both, however, have seen lackluster performances with the flat stick preventing them from even better results with Scheffler ranking 135th in strokes gained/putting at -.192 and McIlroy faring a little better, ranked 83rd at .078.

The reasons players change putters are varied. Some are looking for a change of scenery that might break them out of a funk. That could certainly be the case here. Some players also prefer certain types of putters on particular types of grasses.

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Both have fiddled with other putters before big events during this season. McIlroy employed a Scotty Cameron by Titleist blade at the WGC-Dell Match Play and Masters, that was reminiscent of the Cameron GSS prototype with chromatic bronze finish he used to win his first two majors at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional C.C. and 2012 PGA at Kiawah’s Ocean Course. A few weeks later at the Wells Fargo Championship he was back with his TaylorMade mallet.

Scheffler, meanwhile, decided to bench his Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless TourType GSS putter for another Cameron at the U.S. Open at Los Angeles C.C. The new Cameron had a wider body (allowing for weights to be placed in a more advantageous position to foster forgiveness) and a smooth face (compared with a milled face on his other putter) that he said provided a crisper feel.

Whether either player puts the new putters in play remains to be seen but clearly they’re not merely tinkering around with so much on the line the next few weeks. Stay tuned.