In the wake of his win at the Chevron World Challenge, and after sinking crucial putts on the final two holes to seize the victory, Tiger Woods seems to have regained some of his old putting prowess. Along the way, Woods’ putter appears to be back in balance with his stroke.
Indeed, in late summer, he switched from a putter that was fully toe-down in balance to one that is only partially toe-down. Specifically, he switched to a Nike Method 001 blade that has a very similar balance to the old Cameron putter that he used for the vast majority of his career.
Putter balance falls into two general categories. A “face-balanced” putter will generally appeal to golfers who employ a more straight-back-and-straight-through putting stroke, while a putter with “toe hang,” also known as “toe droop,” will generally appeal to those with an arcing stroke. And toe hang comes in varying degrees, from slight to full. The deeper the toe hang, the more it will favor a pronounced arc compared to a slighter arc
Prior to his recent putter change, Woods had been bagging a heel-shafted mid mallet that was fully toe-down in balance. When Woods initially switched to the toe-down mallet last year, he said that it helped him “release” the putter head through impact. Later, he said he was trying to fine tune his “release pattern” in accordance with his larger swing changes under the guidance of Sean Foley.
He said, “You want to have the same type of swing with the putter all the way up to the driver. It’s the same motion just smaller.”
However, you could also surmise that Woods was getting stuck at the end of his putting stroke, and that he was using the deeper toe hang of the mid mallet to help regain the sensation of completing his arc and releasing the putter. Now, however, he apparently no longer needs that added assistance, which is why he has returned to the type of putter balance he used during his dominant period.
It’s ultimately not surprising the Tiger’s first “Tiger-like” putting performance since his troubles began in 2008 came with the same type of putter that he wielded with such remarkable authority over the preceding decade. It could be simply a matter of getting back in balance, both with his stroke and his putter.
P.S. For insights into putter balance and other putter putter fitting essentials that you can use to find a better fit for better results on the green, check out PutterZone.com’s putter fitting guide, Putter Perfection.