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The Musical Putters of Tiger Woods

First, Tiger Woods toyed around with the Nike Method 001 putter for three rounds at the 2010 British Open before returning to his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter.

Then, late in the year, he switched back to the Method putter, specifically the 003 mid-mallet (pictured here). Soon, his web site was updated to reflect the change, and his site still lists the Method 003 as his putter on the “In The Bag” page.

Woods is even starring in the latest print advertisements for the Nike Method putter line, which show him in the Nike putting lab with a Method 003.

So now the switch is truly official, right? Not so fast.

Indeed, the ol’ Scotty Cameron was back in Tigers’ bag during yesterday’s opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

When asked about it, Woods didn’t say much, and it was a mixed message: “Yeah, right now this putter has a little bit of success, and felt pretty comfortable with it. Unfortunately I kept leaving myself above the hole. Never had a good look until around seven. And I had a left to right, and I just flushed it right through the break. Other than that, I was putting defensively all day, and I was just in bad spots.”

The Nike Method putter no longer needs to prove anything. In fact, it had already notched two major tournament victories long before Tiger bagged it.

The musical flatsticks seem to say more about Woods and the state of his game than the state of his putters. He is searching for that old magic on the greens.

When he lost his touch with the Cameron putter, he made his first switch in more than 10 years. The Method 003 offered more toe rotation, and Woods said it would help him release the putter through the ball—which has always been a fundamental aspect of Woods’ putting stroke.

But old magic still remained elusive, and now Woods has reunited—at least for now—with his trusty Cameron. Maybe he felt he no longer needed that extra rotational boost of the Method 003. Or maybe he just went with his gut.

One thing is for sure, when—or ifthe old magic returns, we’ll know about it, and it will be great for the game. No one has provided more thrills on the greens than Woods, and right now the thrill is still gone. But the season is young, and the Masters begins in around ten weeks, and we wouldn’t bet against a return to form in 2011.

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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