DUBLIN, Ohio – Xander Schauffele began the week ranked ninth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting. Most players with that kind of lofty advantage would be more than happy to leave well enough alone.
Not Schauffele, who switched to a new putter and a new wristlock putting grip at this week’s Memorial Tournament
“My putting coach, my whole team, honestly, we're very against change and I had to see what the craze was about,” Schauffele said. “I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on Tour, switching putters or the style of putting. It's a distinct advantage.”
Schauffele said he started experimenting with the longer putter with a wristlock grip about a week ago but the transition didn’t seem to have too much of an impact on his play on Day 1 at the Memorial, where he was tied for third after a first-round 68 that included a .718-shot advantage in strokes gained: putting.
“It's better, it's easier. It's more consistent,” he said. “We work a lot on start lines and making sure the ball's doing what we think it's doing. You can flinch in your hands, but you can't flinch your entire left arm.”
Schauffele added that he believes the wristlock putting style should be banned by golf’s rules makers, but as long as it’s allowed he wanted to try it.
“It takes the stress of putting out of the game. Putting is so stressful in golf, obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card,” he said. “Putting is an art in our game and when you can lock it into your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that.”