The Loop

Woods leaning toward switching putter

July 13, 2010

After 11 years with the same Scotty Cameron by Titleist putter, Tiger Woods may have a new flat stick in the bag for the British Open at St. Andrews. Woods has been using a Nike Method 001 blade putter (which is very similar in style to his Cameron) during practice rounds at the British Open, creating speculation he may switch to it for the main event.

Although the timing may appear odd, the switch could have something to do with Woods' recent change to a firmer Nike One Tour Star golf ball. The Method boasts a face that is a combination of steel and polymer-filled grooves, which provide a slightly softer feel.

Changing to a new putter for a major is not unique. Nor does it mean Woods is tossing in the towel for the week. To the contrary, Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters after switching to a MacGregor ZT Response putter and more recently, Jim Furyk won the 2003 U.S. Open having changed putters earlier that week to a Bettinardi Little Ben model. Karma may also play a role. Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink each won majors last year using the Nike Method 001.

Woods also brought his Cameron, with which he's won 13 of his 14 majors and 63 of his 71 PGA Tour titles, to St. Andrews, but he told The Associated Press during his practice round, "I think I'm going to stick with this one."

Woods has struggled with his putting all year, ranking 150th on tour in overall putting average, while ranking T-162 in three-putt avoidance, with 14 three-putts already on the season. Last year Woods had a total of 23 three-putts for the entire year while in 2007 (his last full season prior to that) he only had 20.

-- E. Michael Johnson