Goodbye, table-top. Hello, claw.
Michelle Wie has abandoned her unorthodox table-top putting stance - where she bends low over her putts, perpendicular to the ground - and is preparing to use a new claw putting grip when she tees it up at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open this week, according her coach, David Leadbetter.
“She looks really good with the new putting style,” Leadbetter said.
The new grip is similar to the claw-style grip Sergio Garcia uses.
“It may take a while for her to get comfortable with it, but she’s excited about it,” Leadbetter said. “I told her the table-top was well past its sell-by date.”
Wie went to work on the new grip after enduring a frustrating start to 2017 on the greens. She hit 34 of 36 greens in regulation in the season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic three weeks ago but made just three birdies and missed the cut.
Last year, Wie experimented with a Jack Nicklaus-style putting crouch through parts of the season, but she still relied heavily on the table-top. She finished 120th in putts per greens in regulation last year. She used the table-top style in the season opener in the Bahamas, taking 63 putts in two rounds.
Wie finished 105th on the LPGA money list last year, outside the top 100 who secure full privileges. She’s competing out of Category 3 of the LPGA money list this year, a category that includes tour members who won a major championship over the last five years. Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst in 2014.
The claw grip isn’t the only new facet of Wie’s game this year. Wie signed an equipment deal with Callaway before going to the Bahamas. She had played Nike equipment her entire professional career but went searching for a new deal after Nike announced last year it was getting out of equipment business. She is still wearing Nike apparel.
Wie’s now playing a Great Big Bertha Epic driver and 3-wood, a pair of Big Bertha Alpha hybrids, Apex Pro 16 irons and a custom Odyssey 2-Ball Fang putter.