For some players, they’re loyal dance partners. For others, they’re just tools, instruments easily abandoned for a better tool.
Garrett Willis nearly ditched his dance partner of five years Thursday at Harbour Town but is glad he reconsidered at the last moment.
Willis said in his post-round interview that he auditioned about 10 putters at the Heritage this week but decided to stick with his “Old Faithful,” a Scotty Cameron prototype. He was rewarded for the choice in a round of 7-under-par 64 that gave him the early lead at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
“Old Faithful” delivered six consecutive birdies on the front nine.
Bob Toski, the Hall of Fame teacher and the PGA Tour's leading money winner in 1954, will tell you players tinkering with a lot of putters are actually looking for something much harder to find than a putter.
“They’re really looking for confidence,” Toski says.
Willis found it in “Old Faithful” after vowing this was the week he was finally going to break with it. He practiced all week with a belly putter and even had one in his bag on the way to the driving range before Thursday’s round when he sent his caddie back to his car to get “Old Faithful.”
“I've been having 31, 32, 33 putts a round, which is leading to a lot of missed cuts,” Willis said. “And this is the week `I'm going to break away, I'm going to do it, I'm going to switch.’ I say that almost every week, but I don't have the guts enough to do it. Luckily, it paid off.”