How Rickie Fowler’s putter carried Wyndham Clark to victory | Wall-to-Wall
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Professional golfers usually know when it’s time to make an equipment change. Coming off a T27 showing at the Players Championship, Wyndham Clark figured it was time to shake things up with the putter after seeing too many putts inside 10 feet slide by the hole.
“[In] the back of my mind, I was like, I wanna try the putter,” Clark said on Tour Validated.
The putter Clark referenced belongs to none other than 5-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Folwer. To be clear, Clark didn’t swipe one of Fowler’s putters. He just happened to do the next best thing: He asked Odyssey to build him an exact replica.
To understand Clark’s latest putter switch, let’s go back to January when Fowler made a putter change of his own at the American Express.
After trying out caddie Ricky Romano’s Odyssey O-Works Jailbird mallet, Fowler asked Odyssey Tour rep Joe Toulon if he could build something similar. The putter, which features a slab of lead tape on the sole and a blacked-out Microhinge face insert, has played a key role in a career resurgence for Fowler. (He’s logged 10 top-25 finishes in 14 starts this season.)
The putter caught Clark’s eye during a money game at Medalist Golf Club, where Fowler was burying everything in sight from inside 10 feet.
“[We were] out of Medalist playing the money game and he was putting with it and didn’t miss inside 10 feet,” Clark said. “When anyone’s putting that good, you’re typically like, Let me take a look at that. We practiced afterward and I was putting with mine, and then I tried his a little bit and it felt really good.”
Clark wasn’t ready to switch at the time, but things changed following the Players Championship. According to Toulon, Clark asked for Fowler’s build, all the way down to the longer SuperStroke Tour 3.0 grip and 20-plus grams of lead tape situated on the sole. The only difference is Clark plays with 2.5 degrees of loft compared to Fowler’s 2.25. That’s it.
“Gotta give a shoutout to Rickie Fowler,” said Clark. “The head is pretty heavy and you don’t feel like you can miss it offline. As far as short putts, it’s so dialed that you feel like you’re going to make it every time.”
The Fowler-inspired putter (or is it a Romano-inspired putter?) has rejuvenated Clark’s game on the greens. He’s finished no worse than T29 in his last six starts to go along with four top-6 finishes.
After Sunday’s win in Charlotte — where he ranked 3rd in SG: Putting (plus-7.465) — Fowler might want to start asking for royalties if Clark’s heater continues.
Change is good
Rory McIlroy returned to TaylorMade’s Spider Hydro Blast mallet but opted to replace the SuperStroke Ryder Cup grip with a fresh SuperStroke Zenergy Pistol Tour that had “Rors” emblazoned on the front.
McIlroy confirmed the grip change was due to something he noticed when he picked up his Spider putter recently.
“I turned it around and that ridge on the bottom hand was getting a little twisted, which was getting my hand on the side of it a little bit,” he said. “Once I put a new grip on and squared it up a little bit, it felt like I could get my right hand more on top, rather than around the side because you’re always wanting to get back to neutral, right? It’s something I probably should have picked up before, but I didn’t.”
A return to the old mallet with a fresh grip failed to get things going on the greens, as McIlroy finished 45th in SG: Putting (minus-0.247) en route to a T47 showing.
Finally on Tour
When Ping’s G430 lineup launched in January, many golfers picked up on a hole in the fairway wood lineup. Instead of releasing a low-spin model at the same time as G430 SFT and G430 Max, Ping chose to wait until the Wells Fargo Championship to release G430 LST.
Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates confirmed Stephan Jaeger (15.5 degrees) and Andrew Landry (16 degrees) were the first two staffers to make the fairway wood switch official.
“Both players were able to play extra loft and still see an increase in speed,” Oates said. “The extra loft increases their launch and the low-spin nature of the head controlled spin to create an optimal flight for distance.”
We’ll have to wait for technical details, but the addition of generous sole and back weights (it looks to be adjustable) makes us believe there could be a considerable amount of CG movement available for the better player.
Quick-hitters: Rory McIlroy and TaylorMade have been working on a special wedge grind. … How a clever gear hack solved this Tour winner’s sweaty-hands dilemma. … Adam Scott was spotted with several different utility irons last week. … Adam Scott moved into a 48-degree Titleist Vokey Design pitching wedge after switching from KBS Tour 130 shafts to True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100.
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