Phil Mickelson is trying something strange with his putting stroke (but it’s working)

Did you notice the change in Phil Mickelson's putting stroke?


Phil Mickelson is a tinkerer. It’s one of my favorite things about him, truth be told. No matter how good he is, or how well he’s been playing, he’s always looking to push himself and get a little bit better. In recent years, dieting aside, most of his tinkering has come with his putter. Gone are the days of Phil’s heavy forward-press with a blade putter. Now, he’s using a graphite-shafted Odyssey Versa blade putter and holding it with a claw grip.

Phil hasn’t been putting great recently, finishing 139th in SG: Putting in 2019 and 126th so far in 2020, so he’s tinkering again. In what appears to be a new addition this week, and as you can see for yourself below, he takes the putter back, makes a pronounced stop, holds it for a second or two, then resumes once again.

As you can see, it’s not something he used to do…

The exact reason why he’s doing this is unclear. Likely it’s tempo-related; making an emphasized break between the backstroke and through-stroke to avoid rushing the transition between the two and therefore preventing the unwanted manipulation of the putter face during the stroke.

But for the all-important question: Is it working? It seems so, interestingly. Through 12 holes at the time of writing, he’s already gained 1.701 strokes on the green and ranks 15th in the field.


Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.