PGA Tour StatsApril 23, 2019

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Who makes the most birdies on tour—and why one team might have a big advantage

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round One
Sam GreenwoodAKRON, OH - AUGUST 03: Jon Rahm of Spain reacts after an eagle on the 16th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 3, 2017 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans has gone from a post-Masters afterthought to an interesting week on the PGA Tour, thanks to the recently adopted team format that sees two rounds of four-ball play and two rounds of foursomes. In 2018 Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy made 28 birdies as a team en route to a winning score of 22-under par. As the tour returns to the Big Easy for a week of scoring fireworks, we take a look at the birdie average leaders on tour this season who are in the field and the putters they use. Interestingly, two of them are partners this week. Place your bets.

Kevin C. Cox

Jason Day
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Birdies per round: 4.83 In a pairing of two major winners with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, Day will be relying on a putter with origins back to Fall 2015 when Day requested that his TaylorMade putter have the color red. It took some doing to get the color to Day’s liking, but he finally settled on one that incorporated the color of the Redback Spider, which is found in Day’s homeland of Australia. The putter also does not have a sightline on top, at Day’s request.

Christian Petersen

Ryan Palmer
Putter: Odyssey O-Works R-Line Red
Birdies per round: 4.74 After ranking 166th in birdie average in 2016-'17; Palmer leapt all the way to 21st last season and has continued his good run into this season. The Odyssey O-Works R-Line Red has been in his bag for most of that stretch. The rounded mallet-style putter has a red clubhead with white sightlines in the cavity along with the company’s microhinge insert, which is designed to produce an earlier forward roll with less skidding. Palmer uses a Flat Cat grip, where each side of the grip is in a parallel plane with the putter face.

Andrew Redington

Tony Finau
Putter: Piretti Elite
Birdies per round: 4.45 Finau’s Piretti Elite putter has been in his bag since the 2017 BMW Championship, and Finau hasn’t changed the grip once. “I’m making putts with it, but I’ve also become so accustomed to how it feels in my hands,” Finau told Golf Digest last fall. “I’m not going to change it until it literally starts falling apart. The balance of it through the hit is terrific.” Finau’s preference is for a heavier putter so to counterbalance the heavy head, the grip weighs a hefty 150 grams, or about three times what a normal putter grip weighs.

Jared C. Tilton

Patrick Cantlay
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 GSS
Birdies per round: 4.41 When Cantlay teams with 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, he will have a familiar club in the bag. The Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 GSS has been with Cantlay for some nine years, and there are things that make the club distinctly his—aside from the “Patty” stamping on the toe end face of the club. The putter also features a very thin topline, one Cantlay says is probably among the thinnest around. It’s also relatively short at 33 inches. “I’ve pretty much always used a Newport 2 for many, many years, back to junior golf,” he told Golf Digest in 2017. “I can’t really tell you why, I just feel comfortable with it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to change ever.” And so far, it’s working out.

Kevin C. Cox

Jon Rahm
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Birdies per round: 4.38 We mentioned Ryan Palmer earlier. Now we get to his partner. Rahm and Palmer will team up at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a pairing of two birdie machines who each use a red-colored putter, in Rahm’s case TaylorMade's Spider Tour Red . The color is appropriate for the Spaniard as he says red is his favorite color as it is the color of passion and that is how he approaches golf. Rahm’s Spider Tour also is minimalistic in look as Rahm—who was struggling with his alignment at the time he made the change in 2017—somehow found he could line up putts better without an alignment line on top.