On the third hole – his 12th of the day – Mickelson started using a claw grip on his putts, which he employed for six holes before reverting back to his familiar style on the final hole of the day.
“I like the claw grip; I’m going to use it,” Mickelson, a noted tinkerer, told GolfChannel.com. “My grip pressure was getting a little bit tight and this gets my grip pressure lighter, so I’ll putt with it for a while, then go right back to my regular grip.”
Mickelson followed an opening-round even-par 71 with a 2-under 69 in the second round that included three birdies in those half-dozen holes using the claw grip. All told, he took nine putts on those six holes.
This comes on the heels of Mickelson’s Open Championship victory last month, during which he revealed he’d found “the secret to my own putting.” After his round on Friday, he still believed that was true.
“I did,” he repeated. “It has nothing to do with the grip.”
Mickelson previously used the claw grip last year and earlier this year prior to scrapping it at the Shell Houston Open.
“What the claw does for me is it gets rid of two of my bad habits,” he explained after discontinuing use of the grip at that tournament. “One of my bad habits is I get too big of a forward press and the other one is my hands drop down too low. The claw gets me out of that. It feels awkward to forward press and awkward to drop my hands too low. The way I have the putter set up is much more upright and much less loft, which doesn’t allow me to have a forward press and doesn’t allow me to drop my hands. So with this setup in the putter, I should be able to go to either grip. I thought that I would go back to a regular grip to have a softer touch on some fast greens.
“But I’m not opposed to going back to either grip.”