‘I can’t move it’: Tiger Woods left confused by the hottest club on Tour

Woods took a look at Fowler's Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter during a driving range clinic at the Nexus Cup.

@eastsidegolf / Instagram

For a brief moment on Tuesday at Liberty National, Tiger Woods didn’t know what to do with a golf club in his hands. To be more specific, he didn’t know what to do with arguably the hottest putter on the planet.

Before we discuss the specifics behind the putter, let’s do some scene setting: Woods was on hand in New Jersey for the Nexus Cup, an uber-exclusive amateur event featuring 18 foursomes hosted by the 15-time major champion that featured a driving range clinic for participants.

In addition to Woods, Rickie Fowler and Will Zalatoris made the trip to take part in the range festivities. Thanks to footage provided by @eastsidegolf on Instagram, nearly all of the best moments from the low-key event were captured, including one that likely piqued the interest of gearheads.

While Woods kept the range session to chips with a wedge, he walked over at one point to Fowler’s bag and pulled out his putter for further inspection. Fowler, of course, was the catalyst behind the re-emergence of Odyssey’s Versa Jailbird earlier this year. Equipped with a 17-inch SuperStroke grip and a slab of lead tape on the sole, the putter took the Tour by storm and notched three straight wins at one point, including the U.S. Open.

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Even though Woods is decidedly old-school when it comes to his gear, he was curious to check out the hottest club in golf and learn how it worked.

There was just one problem: “How do you take the putter back? I can’t get the head to move,” Woods asked Fowler as he compared an old 8802-style blade to the high-MOI mallet.

Woods was serious: He didn’t know how to take the head back.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Woods in recent years, it’s that he’s not afraid to ask questions when it comes to gear that isn’t familiar. Prior to switching from a bonded (glued) driver to an adjustable version years ago — Woods was one of the last golfers to embrace adjustability — he asked countless questions to get a handle on a piece of tech that was already being used by golfers of all handicaps.

But Woods didn’t want to assume he knew what was going on with the hosel settings.

“I’ve got to learn all this stuff,” he said in 2018. “There’s like over a thousand different settings. OK, so I’ve got to go to school, so teach me what is all this stuff, and teach me the physics, teach me the geometry. Once I started to understand what was going on, I could assert myself more in a conversation about what I needed from a club.”

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Odyssey White Hot Versa Double Wide DB Putter

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For a brief moment on the range, Woods turned into the same quizzical golfer as he peppered Fowler with questions on how to use the counterbalanced putter. Still unsure how to take the head back, Woods pressed Fowler for more insights.

“So where are your feet?” he asked. “What takes the clubhead back? I can’t move it.”

Fowler offered his reasoning for going to a longer, heavier mallet: “I wanted to quiet down the left side throughout the strike.”

“Why would you want to do that?” Woods responded. To which Fowler replied, “It calms my hands down to where I didn’t get handsy.”

That’s when the light switch flipped on for Woods: “I understand, I got it.”

Woods might be the greatest golfer to ever touch a club, but what’s refreshing about his approach to gear is how he’s never afraid to ask questions, no matter how simple they might be. He’s constantly learning and trying to gain knowledge.

Based on the interaction, it’s a good bet you’ll never see Woods with a replica version of Fowler’s wand — and that’s just fine. He knows what makes the putter tick, and how to move it. Consider it a successful gear learning expedition for the GOAT.

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.