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A New Chapter in Tiger’s Putting Saga

In a wild finish, with Tiger Woods losing a four-shot lead for the first time in a final round, it was Graeme McDowell who sunk the clutch putt in overtime to seal the victory at the Chevron World Challenge.

As reported here earlier this year, Graeme McDowell’s putter is an Odyssey White Hot #7. Meanwhile, interest remains high in the Nike Method putter that Woods rode to near victory before faltering with it early on Sunday. Tiger Woods’ latest putter is the Nike Method 003 model, the third putter he has put into tournament play this year. More on this putter below.

This latest chapter in the Tiger Woods putter saga proved to be a fitting end to his 2010 season. Everyone is still trying to figure out how deep of a hole Woods is trying to climb out of, and that question remains unanswered heading into 2011.

His performance at the Chevron certainly bodes well, but winning—not contending—remains the goal (his) and expectation (ours, or at least most of us) of Tiger Woods. And we still don’t know how long we’ll have to wait for that.

Much is being made of Woods’ “new” full swing under the guidance of instructor Sean Foley. But what’s interesting about Tiger Woods’ new putter is that it, too, swings differently than the Anser-style blade putter he has used for more than a decade.

Some are fond of saying that it’s the “puttee” and not the “putter” that makes the difference. That’s largely, but not entirely, true. Otherwise, why would a player of Woods’ caliber bother switching at all? With all of the change he’s been going through, it’s hard to imagine that he would pile on a putter switch just for fun.

Tiger Woods’ new putter, the Nike Method 003, is a heel-shafted mid mallet. Woods said recently that this putter encourages him to “release” the head through impact. Click here for our earlier story on what that means.

Simply put, the heel-shafted Method 003 putter has a steeper “toe hang” than the Anser-style putter Woods has used in the past. It therefore performs differently, with more of a swinging-gate sensation through the stroke. Woods has always talked about the importance of releasing the putter through impact, and he’s now apparently trying to recapture that mechanical move by changing the balance of his putter.

In other words, it doesn’t sound like Woods is trying to develop a new putting stroke. Rather, it seems that he has switched putters in an effort to regain his old putting stroke.

And so the Tiger Woods putter saga continues. It will be interesting to see what’s in his bag, and what he does with it, in the new year ahead.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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  1. I agree that Tiger Woods wouldn't switch his putter for fun. My take on it is that he's desperately trying for a physical fix for a problem with the mental game. When he gets the mental game fixed, I believe his mind/body connection will once again be in sync and he'll be back winning tournaments.

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