‘I’m just doing whatever’: This pro’s putting approach is chaotic (but surprisingly effective!)

Sahith Theegala is not afraid to make a change when things aren't going well on the greens.

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Albert Einstein famously said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” As far as we know, Einstein wasn’t a golfer — but we can apply his adage to golf when things go awry.

Consider PGA Tour-star-in-the-making Sahith Theegala as Exhibit A; his approach to putting embodies that Einstein witticism like few other golfers.

Two summers ago, Theegala was making his second PGA Tour start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and struggled to get things going on the greens. So, mid-round, he switched his grip from traditional to left-hand low.

“I was putting terrible,” he said at the time. “So I was like, ‘All right, let’s switch up the feel.’ I just go back and forth depending on, literally, how I’m feeling.”

Not many golfers — let alone pros — would have the gumption to switch grips in the middle of their round. Theegala is not like most golfers.

The 24-year-old’s willingness to switch it up at a moment’s notice dates back to his high school days. He explained at this week’s Genesis Invitational that switching from traditional to left-hand low started as a way to combat discomfort he felt over left-to-right putts. With a cross-handed grip, he’s able to guard against shutting the face down at impact and missing the putt on the low side.

“I just started not trusting my line,” Theegala told GOLF.com. “Putting cross-handed helped me get a little bit more on top of it — I’m almost shoving the ball on right-to-lefters.”

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He’s stuck with that free-flowing approach through his decorated career at Pepperdine — where he won national player of the year honors his senior year — and now on the PGA Tour. Theegala earned his card last summer through the KFT Finals, and in his first season with Tour status he’s racked up nine made cuts in 11 starts, including a T3 finish at the WM Phoenix Open.

However, despite strong play during his first full-time season at the highest level, he hasn’t stuck with just one putting grip. During last fall’s RSM Classic, Theegala struggled to pull the trigger standing over putts. Naturally, he started putting with a claw grip.

“And I hate the claw,” he said with a smile.

As of late, he’s back to a traditional grip. It’s been working, so no need to change.

“I’m just doing whatever,” Theegala said. “I don’t know when I’m gonna break it up.”

If history is any indication, the answer is obvious: whenever he feels he needs a spark on the greens.

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Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.