BELMONT, Mass. - Local pro shops had better be stocked up on putters for the Senior Players Championship, the third Champions Tour major of the season.
Colin Montgomerie said he has used seven different putters in his last eight rounds, including a win in the Senior PGA Championship that gave him his third Champions Tour major victory. And Mark Calcavecchia is coming off a win in the Principal Charity Classic after picking up an off-the-rack putter at a local sporting goods store.
"I change with the weather," Montgomerie said this week before admitting it's not even as scientific as that. "I don't have any robotic thoughts about golf. I just go out and it's the way I feel in the morning and if the feeling's different, I change my putter."
Calcavecchia knows how he feels.
"He does change putters a lot," the three-time Champions Tour winner said this week at Belmont Country Club. "I'm probably the next other guy who's done something like that."
Calcavecchia, who travels from tournament to tournament on his own bus, said the vehicle is filling up with putters he has bought or requested from Ping and then rejected.
"I have 40 putters in there and I hate every one of them," he said.
Calcavecchia said he went to Dick's Sporting Goods in Des Moines before last week's tournament because his wife needed to buy some running clothes. Calcavecchia picked one up and made about a dozen putts on the practice green, so he bought it.
"That's how stupid it is, it's just all psychological," he said. "It's basically just appearance to me and how it looks. ... There are times when I just don't like any of my putters I'll just look for something else."
The Players Championship begins on Thursday at Belmont Country Club, a par-71, 6,855-yard course designed by Donald Ross in 1908 and home to the 1937 PGA Match Play Championship won by Byron Nelson. It's the first Senior Tour event in the Boston area since 2008, when the Bank of America Championship left nearby Concord after 25 years.
Montgomerie, who never won a major on the PGA Tour, is the first golfer since Jack Nicklaus to win major championships for his first three Champions Tour victories. The 51-year-old Scotsman said he is hoping for more success at Belmont than in his last visit to the Boston area: for the 1999 Ryder Cup.
Montgomerie became a favorite fan foil while the Americans rallied from a 10-6 deficit to beat Europe on the final day. Montgomerie said he has bad memories from that event, but it's not the loss or even the heckling that got to him: It was playing singles against Payne Stewart.
"To think that he died two months later. The Ryder Cup meant nothing when I received [that] phone call over," Montgomerie said. "That's unfortunately the memory that I take from the 1999 Ryder Cup.
"A great celebration of golf was had. I think the Ryder Cup became a bigger and better event because of it," he said. "But the main memory was a very sad one."