Kite Changes Putting Grip Changes Luck

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 US Senior OpenYou have heard all about Gil Morgan this year, and Hale Irwin and Craig Stadler. Bruce Fleisher has had his day, along with Jim Thorpe and Larry Nelson.
Dont look now, but an old name looks suspiciously like hes on the verge of erupting. Fella named Tom Kite.
Kite, et al, will be in St. Louis this week for the playing of the U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive. For many years he was the career leading money winner on the PGA Tour. He has struggled at times with his putter once he turned 50. And he messed around with the tried-and-true old swing. But he at last sees blue skies ahead.
The end of last year and the first part of this year, I really didn't strike the ball as well as I had been, Kite confessed.
The first 3- or 3-1/2 years on the Champions Tour, from tee to green, I was as good as I had ever been and my putting held me back there. Did not allow me to win nearly as many tournaments as I should have on the Champions Tour, could have on the Champions Tour. But now I'm putting very well and now I'm hitting the ball well.
The year 2002 was a Kite landmark campaign with three Champions Tour victories. Last year, though he couldnt claim a victory, he was still sixth on the money list.
But the beginning of this year, it all suddenly changed. He hung around the 15-to-20 position while he tried to adjust a few things in the swing.
About the last two months, I've really been playing quite nicely, said Kite. The swing changes that I was trying to make, I got a little off in my position. I was taking the club too far inside on the backswing and lost all my whip, and it took me a little while to get that back. So my swing is now in good position, so I'm hitting some very nice shots.
Five times this year, in what has to be considered an anomaly for one of the most consistent players in the history of the game, Kite finished outside the top 20. Problematic putting was slowly ruining a great Champions career. But he applied the tourniquet in a big way, changing putting grips to one that is decidedly unconventional - yet very effective.

I went to a version of The Claw, he said. I don't know what you call it, but sort of where I took the right hand and turned it upside down on the club. That really got my putting - I'm putting quite nicely again for the first time in probably five or seven years Im very optimistic about what's ahead the rest of this year and the next couple of years.

Kite actually has been toying with the grip since November of last year. Thats when he had just about reached wits end with the putting.
My son and I played with Mark (OMeara) and his son at the Father/Son tournament at the end of last year, said Kite, and I think that was the first tournament that Mark had tried it.
And to be honest with you, he was experimenting with a number of different grips at that time. So I don't know which one he finally settled on and has gone with. He's done very well. Craig Stadler has done well. Chris DiMarco, as we know, is a marvelous putter. There are a number of players that are using it now with some success.
Kite began using the grip towards the end of May. And ' its shown signs of working! Golf is enjoyable again for the 55-year-old veteran. But, hes stayed traditional in one area ' his selection of clubs.

I'm still hitting the traditional set right now, basically the same set I've played with since the late 70s and 80s, said Kite. Same driver, 3-wood, 5-wood and all the way down.
I'm sure the time will come (when he must go to more woods). It's coming. It's right around the corner. So far, I'm quite pleased with the way I've been able to play with my long irons.
Many of the elders are using the higher-lofted woods now, he said.
They are nice clubs to hit, especially on the Champions Tour where you are starting to get a little older, you are not quite as strong, not quite as big as you were and don't hit it quite as far, said Kite. It's a wonderful substitute for a long iron.
Related Links:
  • TV Airtimes

  • Tee Times

  • Full Coverage - U.S. Senior Open
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.