The putter change was initially designed to give Justin Thomas a fresh look. A blade user for most of his life, the 27-year-old discussed the idea of having Scotty Cameron design a mallet to fit his arcing putting stroke during a trip to Cameron’s putter studio in San Marcos, California, in the summer of 2016.
To give Thomas the optimal toe hang, Cameron welded a small slant neck to the head of a Futura X5 and sent it home with him. Four-plus years later, the putter has played a part in 12 of Thomas’ 13 Tour titles — including the 2017 PGA Championship — and ascension to the top spot in the world on multiple occasions.
“In the beginning, I was only thinking it would give me something different to look at for a couple weeks – yet here I am, four-something years later and still using it,” Thomas said. “So, I guess it’s worked out pretty well.”
The putter worked out so well, in fact, Cameron chose to give Thomas’ putter the “Inspired by” treatment — an honor bestowed upon select major winners, including David Duval, Davis Love III, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods — with the limited-release Phantom X5.5.
Limited to 2,020 pieces, each putter is designed after Thomas’ Scotty Cameron X5 Flow Neck Prototype, down to the “cherry bombs” in the cavity, sightline location and welded neck. The welded neck is usually reserved for Tour-level putters, but Cameron wanted recreational golfers to get the same treatment.
While some believe the neck welding is just another way to differentiate a Tour putter from an off-the-rack model, Cameron revealed the practical purpose it serves, particularly when you’re working with a Tour player and don’t have endless time to test out different heads and necks. In Thomas’ case, the welded slant neck was added to ensure the toe hang fit his arcing stroke while he worked through different putters on a high-speed camera.
“People are adamant about having a welded neck, and the reason why it’s welded is that we wanted to get it done in a half-hour to go get back on camera, to see if he could line it up and stroke it any better,” Cameron told GOLF.com. “And so that’s why originally it was welded. It was just my idea in the shop, a prototype.”
The multi-material head was created using milled 303 stainless steel for the face and wings, and 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum for the sole plate that adds additional weight to the perimeter for added stability and forgiveness. Each putter is built at 34.5 inches with 10-gram stainless steel heel-toe weights.
Special JT-inspired touches include a “Circle JT” emblem engraved into the face heel, and Thomas’ signature etched into the “Inspired by” sole plate. A glare-resistant bead blast on the raw stainless steel finish, along with a Pistolero Plus grip in cement gray with black, completes the limited release.
Each Inspired by Justin Thomas Phantom X5.5 putter retails for $850 (available Sept. 22) and comes standard with a custom Justin Thomas headcover and Scotty Cameron Fine Milled Putters Seven-Point Crown shaft band.