WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play 2019: Five players who might have a key statistical edge this week
One PGA Tour stat bodes well for five golfers in particular as they head to Austin Country Club for this week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. In match play nothing can dagger an opponent more than watching you roll in putts from 10-to-15 feet with regularity. Whether those putts are for birdie or par, those putts leave a mark because while you’re supposed to expect your opponent to make, deep down you’re hoping for a miss. Heading into this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, we’re taking a look at the top-five players in putting from 10 to 15 feet that are in the 64-player field, and the putters they use. In all likelihood, those putters will turn into daggers at some point.
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
10 to 15 feet: 47.62 percent
It’s hard to believe it has been three-plus years since Jason Day started the Spider Tour phenomena. The red-colored putter, first shown to TaylorMade’s tour staff at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in 2016, incorporates the color of the Redback Spider, an insect indigenous to Day’s homeland of Australia. The putter also does not have a sightline on top, at Day’s request. Of course, when you’re knocking in nearly half your putts from 10 to 15 feet (20 of 42 this season), your alignment is just fine.
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison Stroke Lab
10 to 15 feet: 45.45 percent
Following a career year that included a win at the Open Championship and standout play at the Ryder Cup, it’s understandable that Francesco Molinari would be a little apprehensive about the move. “Last year I had a very good putting year by my standards and that was one of the clubs I was a little bit more nervous about, but the switch was really easy,” Molinari told Golf Digest earlier this month of his move to Odyssey’s Toulon Madison Stroke Lab, which features a shaft made of steel and graphite along with a counterbalanced grip for more stability and consistency. A week later, any apprehension likely went away quickly. In winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Molinari made six putts between that clutch 10-and-15 foot range. “Looking back, the shaft I had in my putter I could feel more movement in on longer putts. So I feel I’m delivering the clubface more consistently to the ball on longer putts,” Molinari said.
Putter: Axis 1
10 to 15 feet: 42.86 percent Justin Rose, in his announcement about joining Honma, made it clear that a big part of the reason for the switch had nothing to do with the company at all, but rather the ability to use a putter that he helped design, the Axis 1. The club is a mallet with wings, but with an unusual shaft bend that helps produce a perfectly balanced putter that resists twisting to assist in applying a purer stroke. During his win at this year's Farmers Insurance Open, Rose used the club to convert five out of 12 tries from 10 to 15 feet.
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 GSS
10 to 15 feet: 41.54 percent
Always known as one of the best putters on tour, Rickie Fowler continues to roll the rock well with a trusted ally—his Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 GSS prototype that he first put in play at the 2014 Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Prior to putting the club in play, Fowler did considerable testing at Cameron’s putting studio where he discovered his upper and lower body were going in different directions. Cameron and one of his fitters, brought out some putters originally produced for Tiger Woods—a Newport 2 style but with a shallower face. The 35-inch putter has “Rickie” stamped on one bumper and “Fowler” on the other. Fowler used the club to make seven of 10 tries from 10 to 15 feet in winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Putter: Bettinardi BB1F Prototype
10 to 15 feet: 41.38 percent In nearly winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Matthew Fitzpatrick made the most of a putter switch he made that week, changing to a Bettinardi BB1F Tour prototype blade putter that he used to convert 5 of 10 tries from 10 to 15 feet. The putter has SUFC (for his favorite soccer club, Sheffield United) and a purple N (for Northwestern University) stamped on the rear bumpers.
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