PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Sergio Garcia was climbing the leaderboard fast on Friday at The Players Championship until putting frustrations got the best of him.
Having abandoned the claw grip, Garcia started this week with a conventional grip. By the back nine of the second round, however, he was so flustered that he started switching back and forth from conventional to claw.
“I did the last four holes,” Garcia said. “And I made one putt.”
Garcia birdied three of his first eight holes to reach 6 under, but he made four bogeys and a birdie the rest of the way to shoot even-par 72. He enters the weekend at 3 under overall.
“Obviously, struggling a lot with my putter this year. Both conventional, claw,” Garcia said. “I don't know what to do.”
Garcia came out of a putting funk four years ago switching to the claw grip. He went from 144th in strokes gained: putting in 2011 to 26th with the claw in 2012. He moved up to ninth in 2013. He’s 83rd this year.
Why did he abandon the claw?
“Obviously, if it was working, I would go with it,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s ball striking serves him well at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. He won The Players in ’08 and has four finishes of T-4 or better in the event.
But if he hopes to turn things around this week, regardless of his grip, he may have to find a new putter: