Over-reaction or long overdue? The takes will be coming fast and furious, as social media showed Tiger Woods is experimenting with a new putter on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Quicken Loans Invitational outside of Washington D.C.
Indeed, there’s Woods at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms with what appears to be a TaylorMade TP Ardmore 3 mallet putter on the practice green.
Mind you, it’s one thing to practice with a new putter, it’s another thing to put it into play. Woods hasn’t commented (yet) on whether that will happen. Another picture showed that Woods had more than one putter in his bag—not uncommon for a tour player on a Tuesday or Wednesday of a tournament week.
However, according to one source, the belief is that there is a “better than good” chance that Woods makes the switch, which would mean the Scotty Cameron putter that Tiger has used for much of his career—and the entirety of his return to action in 2018—would go on the bench.
Why go away from the old reliable? Well, it has looked a lot more old than reliable of late.
At the Memorial earlier this month, Woods ranked 72nd out of 73 players who made the cut in strokes gained/putting (-1.924), including missing 10 putts inside seven feet for the week. If Woods had just been 0.0 in strokes gained/putting for the week, he would have won the tournament by a stroke rather than finishing T-23.
Two weeks later at the U.S. Open, Woods missed the cut after rounds of 78-72, which included a dismal 58 putts. During the first round, he four-putted the 13th green from 40 feet, his first four-putt in a tour event since 2010.
For the season, Woods ranks 89th in strokes gained/putting, despite ranking ninth in strokes gained/total.
“Obviously, I’d like to roll it better than I’ve been,” Woods said at Shinnecock Hills. “I’m hitting it just fine. I just have not made any putts, and then, importantly, I haven’t made those key ones to keep the momentum going, or if I have any positive momentum, I miss a putt and derail it.”
Positive momentum, of course, is what Woods is looking for this week as he makes his lone expected start ahead of next month’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
UPDATE: Later on Tuesday, Woods told reporters that he wanted to see how the mallet rolls and “put it through its paces.”
“I kept saying that I wanted something with more swing than mine, I like feeling like that toe is moving and swinging, but this one has a fraction more swing than mine does. … It’s at my discretion. If I find something that helps me play better, then so be it. If it doesn’t, then it’s not going in the bag.”