Of course, this isn’t the first time Woods has made the switch, and it’s unlikely that it will be his last.
You’ll recall that Woods famously put the Method putter into play at the 2010 British Open, citing the slow greens at St. Andrews as the reason for the switch—and breaking a streak of more than 10 consecutive years of tournament play with his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter.
Earlier this fall, ScoreGolf quoted Cameron as saying, “Tiger is a loyal guy. I don’t have the facts but Nike probably pays him a lot of money so he was probably showing some of that loyalty by supporting them and he should. The switch got some attention, sure, but when it comes right down to it he just has confidence in something he’s had and won with the past 12-13 years.”
So what’s to explain Woods’ most recent flirtation with the Method putter? Did he simply want to give Nike a marketing boost Down Under, as he did in the United Kingdom earlier this year?
That would be hard to believe. A more likely explanation is that Woods is simply looking for a competitive edge. His game still isn’t right. He recently switched swing coaches. He’s changing things up. And no club is sacred anymore.
The last time Woods switched to the Nike Method putter, it was to the Method 001 model, which is a doppelganger of the Cameron Newport 2. This time, however, he switched to the Method 003 mid mallet (pictured above), which he was seen practicing with at the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods putting with a mallet? Hell just froze over. It’s one thing for him to switch to a virtual replica of his old putter. It’s quite another to switch to a different shape altogether.
Here’s how Woods’ web site sums up his final round in Australia, “After struggling on the greens all week, the defending champion played the last six holes 6-under par–recording two eagles–and closed with a 6-under 65, equaling the best round of the day and his best round of 2010. He finished at 7-under 277 and fourth place, three strokes behind winner Stuart Appleby.”
The story also makes a point to mention the Method: “Once again, Woods made a nice rebound, just missing the par-5 ninth green in two. Using a new Nike Method putter, he two-putted for a birdie from the right fringe and made the turn in even-par 35.”
That said, Woods’ putting on Sunday was far from stellar, and he said that he struggled with the speed of the greens. In fact, as at St. Andrews, he cited slower greens as the reason for the switch to the Method putter.
It will be very interesting to see what’s in Woods’ bag in 2011. Right now, we’d say that all bets are off.
P.S. Interestingly, Woods’ web site still lists his putter as the “Scotty Cameron by Titleist Studio Stainless Newport 2 putter (standard loft and lie, 35 inches long),” but with an accompanying photo of the Nike Method 001 putter. Stay tuned.