August 20 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
In search of a way to reward professionals for using a PING putter en route to victory, founder Karsten Solheim started giving out gold-plated putters -- each gold-plated version is built to the exact specifications on the winning putter -- in the 1970s to commemorate each win.
The gold-plated putter tradition became so popular, in fact, that Solheim had to build a "Gold Putter Vault" at PING headquarters to house the collection, which is now at more than 2,800 putters.
While the putters are usually given winners, PING decided to give Hunter Mahan a gold-plated Scottsdale TR Anser2 -- Mahan's current putter model -- on Tuesday at The Barclays for a different reason.
In honor of Mahan's daughter, Zoe Olivia, PING had two gold-plated putters made to celebrate her birth (the putter has her name, birthday and vital stats inscribed on the True Roll insert). One will go home with Mahan, and the other will stay in the Gold Putter Vault.
Mahan will likely remember the birth of his first child for a number of reasons. Leading by two shots after 36 holes at the RBC Canadian Open, the five-time PGA TOUR winner withdrew from the tournament when his wife went into labor.
“We’ll never know if Hunter would have held on to win that week,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “But the circumstances were so unique, we wanted to create a lasting memory for Hunter, Kandi and Zoe that would forever remind them of that special day. The birth of a child is a win any way you look at it, so we thought we’d have some fun with it."
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