This tiny adjustment (literally) is paying big dividends for Paul Casey at Players Championship
It’s the little things in golf that sometimes make the biggest differences.
Casey’s fine play at TPC Sawgrass has been powered, in part, by his putter, which is not a club that been kind to him of late. In the 2021-22 season, Casey ranks 160th in Strokes Gained: Putting, losing an average of -.225 strokes to the field on the greens. There’s no obvious bugaboo: from nearly every distance, Casey’s putting stats are rough.
This week, though, has been a different story (perhaps you caught Casey’s 34-foot birdie bomb on the 17th hole Monday morning). Through 54 holes, he has picked up a whopping 3.402 strokes against the field with his flatstick. He has the same stroke and the same putter — a Scotty Cameron 009M prototype — but he did make one tiny adjustment: adding a dot to the top of his blade.
“It’s alignment,” Casey said of his putting woes. “I put the dot on top purely to get the ball position. I’ve been lining up with the ball on the toe. Just been videoing it and seeing that the ball position has been off the toe, so just to get the strike better.
“Nothing else has changed, but it feels like I’m swinging the putter a little bit better, keeping the head down better. That’s it.”
Of course, never does putting get tested like it does down the stretch on Sunday — well, Monday — afternoon. Casey, who has played as steadily as any player this week (70-69-69), said his general approach to this devilish course will not change in the final round.
“The greens are very receptive so you can certainly be aggressive with those approach shots if you’ve got a right number, but you’ll get bitten if you’re not careful,” he said after completing his third round. “My game plan after making triple on Thursday was actually just play sensible golf and get it in — honestly if that happens, you can’t be overly aggressive because you’ll almost dig yourself a deeper hole.
“Just a minute ago I still hit 3-wood off 18, but it only leaves a 7-iron for me. I don’t feel the need to force the driver maybe two clubs less, and I don’t feel like it’s going to change this afternoon. You pick your battles.”
Just as you do your putting lines.