1 player claims Tiger Woods’ latest putter change was made for an intriguing reason
Nearly every equipment change Tiger Woods made during his career was with performance in mind. If something wasn’t working, Woods searched for a suitable option. Nearly every professional golfer follows the same script when a club doesn’t behave. Switch, pray it works, repeat.
Performance, or a lack thereof, remains the top reason for a club change. But as Woods has learned in recent years, some changes are made due to other benefits they provide. In Woods’ case, multiple back surgeries have made it increasingly difficult to conduct lengthy practice sessions. Saving the back for the big events (“majors”) is what matters most.
Woods dropped down in shaft flex with his TaylorMade woods last year, likely in an attempt to gain speed and not put nearly as much strain on his body.
Now he could be doing the exact same thing with the putter.
Steve Stricker, a close confidant of Woods’ on Tour, was asked if he had any insight into Woods’ latest decision to bench his usual Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter — the same putter that assisted in 14 major titles — for a nearly identical Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Timeless featuring adjustable sole weights. While many, including yours truly, assumed the sole weights meant Woods was trying to go up in head weight to deal with slow greens, Sticker confirmed there’s another — possibly more important — benefit for the 15-time major winner.
“It’s basically the same putter with a little bit more flexibility in the putter,” Stricker said on Wednesday. “He’s able to change the weights around a little bit, but the length is the difference. He’s got a little more length on there, and that’s just so he can practice a little bit more without back pain. That’s what excites him the most is that he was able to put in a lot of time with this putter, and watching him putt, it looked exactly the same to me. He rolled the ball great.”
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Woods’ usual gamer is 35.25 inches in length, which means his new wand is likely approaching, at least, 35.5 inches — the official length has yet to be confirmed — a number that’s above average on Tour. (A majority of Tour players are closer to 34 inches.)
In Woods’ case, going longer would allow him to reduce the stress on his lower back and possibly log more hours on the practice green. It’s a minor alteration, but when you’re trying to play your best golf with a fused spine, every bit of relief helps in the long run.
Woods said during Tuesday’s press conference that he was “very enthusiastic” about some recent changes. Who knew one of them could be something as simple as an increase in putter length.