It’s an Open Championship tradition unlike any other. That would, of course, be Tiger Woods making equipment changes right before the Open Championship.
The 15-time major winner has tinkered with his setup at recent majors, but there’s one change we’ve come to expect from Woods at golf’s oldest championship.
We’re talking about the addition of lead tape to Woods’ iconic Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter.
With the greens rolling on the slower side this week, many players in the field are looking for ways to add additional rollout to their putts. Some of today’s putters offer an adjustable weight version with heel-toe weights made of varying materials (tungsten, steel, aluminum) to produce the desired feel. That being said, there’s very little about Woods’ gear tendencies that would be considered new-school.
During the 2019 Open Championship, Woods tested two different putters early in the week at Royal Portrush, including an adjustable weight version of the Newport 2 with heavier plugs to combat the slower greens. In the end, Woods opted for the old-school method — strips of lead tape affixed to the cavity of his trusty Newport 2 gamer.
Woods has a history of using lead tape — a 1-inch strip weighs about 2 grams — throughout his career on the putter to increase overall head weight, which in turn makes it easier to get the ball rolling to the hole, something he’s struggled to do on slower greens.
“Normally when I’ve come over here and virtually almost every single Open I’ve played in, I would put lead tape on my putters to try and get it a little bit heavier and get the ball rolling,” Woods said in 2019.
Based on the prep work Woods has conducted this week, he’s already noticed there’s a need for a “heavier hammer.” What’s interesting to note about this particular instance is Woods waited until after the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland to add lead tape to the cavity of the putter, so it’s an Open-specific gear change. (One thing he won’t have to worry about this time around? Losing paint fill from the cavity when the lead tape is removed.)
If you play on slow greens and are considering adding lead tape to your putter, just remember the location can change MOI around the axis. Lead in the middle should keep things more neutral, but if you were to place it along the perimeter of the sole, it will deliver a higher MOI due to the mass position.
It might not be all that noticeable unless you use a significant amount, but it’s still something to consider before doing your best Tiger impression.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.