Tiger Woods changes a piece of his equipment DNA at the U.S. Open
Back in 2018, GOLF’s Michael Bamberger waxed poetic about Ping’s PP58 grip — better known as the handle affixed to Tiger Woods’ Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter. It’s not often that a rubber putter grip garners significant ink. Then again, only a handful of putter grips can lay claim to having been used by the greatest golfer of the modern era.
Only one holds the title as the grip Woods used to win 14 major titles: PP58.
It’s become part of the fabric of Woods’ mythical putter — to the point that even astute gearheads rarely bothered to check on the grip when Woods made a putter change in the last few years. The grip was part of Woods’ equipment DNA. No way was it ever going to change.
When Woods arrived on site at Winged Foot, his Newport 2 was in tow. But the putter grip was noticeably missing. Upon closer inspection, Woods appears to have done the unthinkable, replacing the PP58 with a full-cord Lamkin grip featuring the company’s “Deep-Etched” pattern.
The horizontal indentations on the rubber surface give the grip a distinctly firm feel. For someone who has played a no-frills rubber grip for most of his career, the Lamkin version likely matches up in the feel department. The pistol grip shape is also very similar to what Woods has played in the past — although the addition of more rubber could make the grip feel slightly larger in his hands.
Woods didn’t comment on the grip during his scheduled Tuesday press conference, but the change is significant. For starters, this isn’t the first time Woods has used a similar cord-style grip with a deep-etched pattern. During his time at Stanford, it was his grip of choice on an Odyssey Dual Force 660 putter. Only that grip was made by Golf Pride. So we can cross off Woods digging into his old putter grip stash for a new handle.
Another interesting piece of minutia to point out is the scripting on Woods’ Lamkin grip. The whimsical cursive on the front is completely different from the bold, blocky text on the current corded retail version. This leads your eagle-eyed gear sleuth to one conclusion: this is old Lamkin stock.
So where did Woods obtain the grip? That’s anybody’s guess. But if I was a betting man, I’d imagine this grip was once part of Steve Stricker’s grip stash. Stricker, as many know, is a sounding board for Woods when it comes to putting. If Tiger has a putter question, he usually goes to Stricker for advice. Don’t forget it was Stricker who lifted the lid on Woods’ decision to go up in putter length at the PGA Championship.
Stricker also happens to use an older version of Lamkin’s Deep-Etched pistol grip with, you guessed it, the same old-school cursive script. Neither Woods nor Stricker has confirmed the grip is from the 53-year-old’s grip stock, but it’s intriguing that putting guru and his quasi-pupil are now using the same grip.
With more eyeballs on Woods’ putter grip than ever before, it’s very likely the 15-time major winner will be asked to detail his recent change in the not-too-distant future. Every gear change Woods has made over the course of his career has been scrutinized to the nth degree. This one is no different.