Tiger Woods says his putting struggles have nothing to do with his putter

Tiger Woods switched to a longer putter this week at TPC Harding Park.

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This week at the PGA Championship hasn’t been what Tiger Woods hoped it would be. He got off to a solid start with a two-under 68 in the opening round, but the 36 holes he’s played since have been a struggle. A 72 in Round 2 had him flirting with the cut line and Moving Day was no better as he again posted two over, with much of his poor play coming on the putting greens.

It’s been jarring seeing one of the great putters of all time looking so lost on the greens, but Woods hasn’t had his normal gamer in the bag this week, instead opting for a slightly longer Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Timeless prototype. The extra length helps ease the pressure on a back that has endured a number of injuries over the years and allows him to practice with less pain.

“Well, I’ve been messing around with this putter for the better part of over a year,” Woods said on Thursday. “You know, it’s difficult for me to bend over at times, and so practicing putting, I don’t spend the hours I used to.”

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After seeing his performance on the greens this week, he might not be so quick in the future to bench his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS that’s helped guide him to 14 of his 15 major championships. Woods ranks 57th in the field this week in SG: Putting, losing .187 strokes to the field on the greens and he’s also missed a number of short putts that he typically makes look routine.

But despite the pedestrian putting performance, Woods insists that the problem is not with his equipment, but rather with his feel.

“It is about reading the greens. I just haven’t hit the putts hard enough,” Woods said after his third round. “My feel and what I’m seeing just aren’t matching up.”

Woods explained that the greens at TPC Harding Park are “crusty” and firm when playing shots into the green, but that crustiness does not necessarily make them roll quick. That dissonance is what has given him fits — not the putter switch.

“If I hit the putts hard enough, I’m making them,” he said. “It’s hard for me to hit the putts hard enough, and because of feel — and I putt so much by feel — and unfortunately it’s been a touch off.”

He’ll have 18 more holes to figure it out tomorrow, but unfortunately it likely will be without the possibility of hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy at day’s end.


Golf.com Editor

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.