Sam Burns changed putters for the first time in 6 years. Here’s why
Odyssey Tour reps are used to hearing the words “No thanks” from Sam Burns over the years. No matter how much time and effort they put into building a new putter to his specifications, there’s a good chance it’s getting kicked back after initial testing.
Go all the way back to when Burns turned pro in 2017 and you’ll find an Odyssey O-Works Black 7S mallet with the same Microhinge insert in the bag. No matter how many times Burns has tried to like a different putter during his pro career, he’s always come back to O-Works Black 7S.
His history with the putter highlights the importance of a recent switch to Odyssey’s new Ai-One 7S at the Tour Championship — also known as the final event of the playoffs. As Burns recalled on GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, the putter change in Atlanta threw everyone for a loop, Odyssey’s Tour reps included.
Odyssey Ai-ONE #7 S Putter
At the times Burns was contemplating a switch, his gamer had gone cold.
“I spent time on the [Callaway Tour] truck a couple weeks before [the Tour Championship] looking at some putters,” he said. “Didn’t have a lot of confidence in my current putter. I’d been putting well but just had a couple of weeks where the ball wasn’t going in the hole.”
That’s when Odyssey reps handed him an Ai-One 7S to get his initial thoughts. The head was nearly identical to his O-Works Black 7S, but the insert was markedly different, which gave Burns pause. Feel is incredibly important to pros. But Burns needed a spark, so he decided to give it a shot on the truck’s state-of-the-art putting green.
“I’ve looked at a lot of putters, but I’m usually like, ‘I don’t really like it,'” said Burns. “I tried it a couple of times on the truck and really liked it. It looked good and felt good, so I took it out on the putting green to see what happened.”
It didn’t take Burns long to notice there was something special about Ai-One. Less than an hour after he started rolling putts on the practice green at East Lake, Burns did the unthinkable and asked if he could use the putter in competition — a request that reps initially took as a joke.
“I started hitting some shorter and longer putts and there was something about it — the consistency and how it felt — that seemed like even the ones I mishit were going really similar to the ones I hit in the middle,” he said. “It was nice to see. In the 30 or 45 minutes I spent on the putting green, I started gaining some confidence. I asked them if I could use it and they thought I was joking. I said, let’s do it. I’ve had it in the bag ever since.
“The initial look was my exact putter, but with cleaner lines. Looks are a big thing for me. To go from testing to using something different in less than an hour is something that doesn’t happen very often for me.”
Burns hasn’t looked back since he made the switch. He went on to finish T9 at the Tour Championship while ranking 6th in SG: Putting. Burns plans to make one final start tis year at the Hero World Challenge and based on the way things have gone so far with Ai-One, it’s likely his new putter will still be in the bag.
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