Lost in the widespread media fascination with Tiger Woods’ swing overhaul is an equally compelling, and perhaps telling, development: musical putters.
There is a precedent for Woods’ current swing changes under Sean Foley. He overhauled his swing with Butch Harmon, and later with Hank Haney. But through it all, for the previous 10 years and all but one of his major victories, he wielded the same Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter.
In other words, there is no precedent for the fact that Woods has switched flatsticks yet again this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, returning to the Nike Method 003 putter for a second time in four months while ditching his Cameron putter for the third time since last year’s British Open.
The Method 003 is a heel-shafted mallet putter that behaves differently in the hands than the Newport 2 and other Anser-style blades. The balance of the Method 003 is toe down, which means it will exert more rotational force during the stroke.
Indeed, when he first made the switch to the Method 003, Woods stated that he wanted to feel the putter release through impact—a sensation that would certainly be more pronounced with that putter.
So not only is Tiger Woods working on a new swing, he’s still grappling with his putting stroke, and still trying to find the right putter to help cure what ails it.
The swing changes under the colorful Foley are certainly good theater, but they are only half of the story. The largely overlooked subplot is Woods’ putting trials, as revealed by his sudden inability to settle on a stick. We’ve seen Woods re-engineer his swing before, but on the green, he’s clearly in uncharted territory.