New for the 2010 putter lineup

By Richard CurreyApril 19, 2010, 5:01 pm

The putter is the only club in the bag that you can say will be used every time you play golf. With the average player hitting more than 30 putts in a round, it is probably the most important club for your game.

With the weather getting better across the country, golf season is upon us and this year's putter lineup has a lot of new faces from familiar manufacturers.

Nike Method #1 ($249.99 MSRP)

Nike Method #1 putter
Nike Method
The Method first appeared on Tour last year and made a huge splash but was not available to the general public until Nike released their putter lineup.

The Method was the putter used by Stewart Cink at the British Open and Lucas Glover at the U.S. Open when they claimed their first majors. With five worldwide wins last season it was a successful year for the guys at Nike’s Oven.

The distinctive polymetal groove technology creates a faster forward roll after impact to create the kind of accuracy and consistency Tour professionals demand. While most traditional steel-faced putters start the ball with backspin that causes the ball to initially bounce a little higher, the new groove technology starts the ball spinning forward to minimize bounce and keep the putt on line.

Thoughts: The Nike Method is steps beyond what would be expected of Nike in the area of putters. The putter has a great feel, good weighting and gives good feedback to the player. 

Odyssey White Ice Mini T ($179.99 MSRP)

Putter alignment can be one of the hardest things for a new golfer to pickup and for an aging golfer to maintain. With a new head design with Hi-Def alignment lines this club has some of the best alignment tools that can be found.

That coupled with the connecting weighted alignment wings to increase consistency and control as well as the familiar White Hot insert; this putter can be a nice addition to anyone’s bag.

Odyssey White Ice and Backstryke putters
Odyssey White Ice Mini T(L) and Backstryke (R)

Thoughts: As expected from Odyssey, this is a well built putter that gives good feedback both through the feel of the club at impact as well as the visual alignment tools. Once you get accustomed to the look the putter can make improper alignment a thing of the past.

Odyssey Backstryke Blade ($199.99 MSRP)

Have a hard time telling if your putter face is square? Well, Odyssey has moved the shaft of its newest putter to the rear of the club to allow you to see the face of your club instead of the shaft of the putter. By doing so it also stabilizes the club for those with a forward press when putting by eliminating the extra loft added by over exaggerating the movement.

Thoughts: It’s off design with the shaft going into the heel of the clubs definitely gets looks out on the practice green. The putter weight is affected by this shift of the shaft as well. Even though the shaft is so far away from the face it does give good feedback and allow for good control of the putter head through the ball.

Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Laguna ($299.99 MSRP)

Fan of the Newport line of putters from Scotty Cameron? Well this new putter from Titleist has some interesting improvements from the original. With adjustable weights on the sole of the putter, it allows you to be able to change the weights based on preference and head to shaft balancing if you wanted to change the shaft to a belly or long putter. The large circular weights also increase the size of the sweet spot for when you just can’t seem to hit it in the same place every time.

Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi-S and Laguna
Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi-S (L) and Laguna (R)
A slight change in the toe profile from the original helps to address people who get the toe up in the air when addressing the ball. With the changes made it allows for less of a chance of pushing the ball left often caused by this issue.

Thoughts: Holding true to the quality standard of the rest of the Scotty Cameron Studio Select line of putters this putter has great feel and good feedback. The new toe configuration and weighting system is great for the normal golfer who may not hit the sweet spot every time.

Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi-S Putter ($299.99 MSRP)

The Kombi is the first time an advanced mallet style putter has made it into the Studio Select series of the Scotty Cameron line. The T shaped sightline allows for good alignment with minimal distractions. The Kombi-S has a factory adjustable weight to change how the sole of the club is weighted per the player’s preferences (Not available in the mid- or long- versions).

Thoughts: At first it was off to look at any Studio Select putter that has an advanced style mallet , but after the initial shock it was a well thought out design without a lot of extra visuals going on to draw your eye away from the ball.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.