Tiger Woods’ legendary putter as you’ve never seen it before

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter

The paint on Woods' putter has chipped away over the years, including the red cherry bombs.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Tiger Woods was frustrated. The year was 1999, and putts that normally dropped continued to burn the edge and wins were no longer coming in bunches. His lone victory earlier in the year at the Buick Invitational required rounds of 62-65 on the weekend to best Billy Ray Brown — not to mention last-minute putter surgery from Scotty Cameron himself.

As the GTE Byron Nelson Classic approached, Woods had been working with Cameron on something new that he planned to deploy that week, a more square and angular version of the free-flowing TeI3 Newport called the “Newport 2.” Using a distinctive German Stainless Steel to craft the head, Woods found the putter to be a better fit for his game.

He’d go on to finish T7 in Dallas and kickstart one of the most dominant stretches of his entire career with the Newport 2 GSS in tow. Over the next 10 starts, Woods hoisted the trophy an astounding 7 times. And we all know what happened the following year.

One club doesn’t make a player great, but it’s fair to say Woods and his Newport 2 GSS have a special relationship. He’s won 14 of his 15 major titles with the wand, making it arguably the most important putter in the history of the sport, outside of Karsten Solheim’s Anser creation.

When you’ve been using the same putter for the better part of two decades, there’s bound to be a few nicks and dings from regular use. Cameron actually offers a “spa” service whereby the head is cleaned up and gashes are removed, but Woods has never taken him up on the offer.

He’s content to let the scars pile up. Doing anything to the head risks altering the putter’s mojo. So it continues to look worse for wear each time it shows up on Tour.

At this week’s Genesis Invitational, GOLF.com had the opportunity to capture in-hand photos of Woods’ famous putter. But instead of simply providing the standard beauty shots from all angles, we’re doing things differently this time around taking a closer look at the gashes and dings that give Woods’ putter so much personality.

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter
The cavity of Woods’ Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

The strip of lead tape concealing the cavity of Woods’ putter has been removed since his last start at the PNC Championship. As you can see, the lead tape residue is still visible. Adding lead tape to the head can serve several benefits, but it can come at a cost.

Take a look at photos of the putter from several years ago and you’ll notice the red “cherry bombs” on the face and cavity were bright and vibrant. The lead tape has since removed the red paint from the cavity, leaving the cherry bomb naked.

Something else that’s only visible with a hi-res photo? Look between the “s” and “t” in the Titleist stamp and you’ll notice Cameron attempted to stamp the logo once before recentering it within the cavity. It’s the small gear Easter eggs that make Woods’ putter so special.

Check out the gashes on the face from years of use. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

The above photo is the one that always captures my attention. Think of all the putts Woods has hit over the years at Tour events and home. You’d expect the face of his gamer to show signs of wear, but this is wear on another level. Even the topline is littered with pockmarks. And don’t forget about the defined wear spot.

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter
The neck of Woods’ games is covered in dings from regular use. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

The story Scotty Cameron told me recently on GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast about bending the neck on Woods’ putter in a subterranean parking garage at the 1999 Buick Invitational makes me appreciate the time it took to get things just right for Woods’ eyes. As expected, the neck has been beaten up over the years. It happens when the putter is going in and out of the bag.

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter
A closer look at the sight dot alignment aid on the putter. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Woods doesn’t give the putter special treatment. The marks on the topline and visible rust on the neck are reminders that the 15-time major winner spends countless hours working on his craft, even when he isn’t on-site at a Tour event. You don’t get that kind of wear from leaving it under a headcover.

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter
The famous PP58 grip is back on Woods’ putter. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Features have been penned on Woods’ Ping PP58 grip, which tells you everything you need to know about every putter component. He’s changed putter grips in the last few years, but the PP58 inevitably returns when things don’t feel quite right. Woods usually conceals the Ping logo and Pingman with black Sharpie, even though it never really does the trick. Everyone knows what he’s using.

tiger woods scotty cameron newport 2 gss putter
More dings, rust and missing paint fill. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

While the red cherry bomb in the back cavity is no more, the one situated on the toe section of the face is still hanging on for dear life. Visible rust has now taken up residence in the recessed area, along with the neck. Paint is also missing from many of the letters spelling out “Scotty Cameron” on the face. You get the point.

These photos are a great reminder that Tiger lives by the gear motto: “Tools, not jewels.”

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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.