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