April 08, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Charl Schwartzel rolled in four consecutive birdie putts to win the 2011 Masters. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Equipment Report highlights the top 5 players in a statistical category, and the club they used to get to the top. But since it's Masters week, we're switching things up and taking a look at the most important club used by the last 5 winners of the year's first major championship.
2013 - Adam Scott (Scotty Cameron Futura X long putter): Scott put a 49-inch Futura X long putter in play for the first time at the 2013 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Cadillac Championshi,p and it paid off in a big way one month later at the Masters.
Scott poured in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd that ultimately earned him a spot in a sudden-death playoff with Angel Cabrera. He followed up the clutch putt with a 12-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole to secure his first major title. The Aussie became the first to win a major championship with a broomstick model.
“I’ve worked pretty hard with Scotty Cameron on a putter this year,” Scott said. “I had a kind of backyard garage prototype in my bag for a couple of tournaments, but now it looks more like a production model. I’m excited about it.”
2012 - Bubba Watson (PING Tour-W wedge, 52 degrees): Bubba Watson faced a nearly impossible shot on the second hole of a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen. Stuck deep in the pine straw on the right side of Augusta National's 10th fairway, Watson needed to hit a gargantuan, 40-yard hook that not only cleared a chute of tree but went 153 yards to reach the back-right hole location.
Watson not only cleared the trees and reached the green with his 52-degree PING Tour-W wedge but was able to create enough hook spin to get his ball within 12 feet of the cup.
PING's Tour-W wedge was designed with a milled face and grooves that increased spin. Needless to say, Watson got the most out of the technology, producing one of the greatest shots in Masters history.
2011 - Charl Schwartzel (Nike Method 004 putter): Schwartzel made history at the 2011 Masters, becoming the first player to ever birdie the last four holes at Augusta National. Even more impressive was that the feat came during the final round of the tournament.
Trailing Rory McIlroy by four shots at the beginning of the day, Schwartzel recorded a birdie and an eagle in his first three holes to grab a share of the lead, and then distanced himself from the field down the stretch, rolling in four birdie putts over the final four holes with his Nike Method 004 putter -- a face-balanced blade with “polymetal groove technology” in the face that provided a faster forward roll and improved accuracy -- to shoot 6-under 66 and win by two shots.
"I felt good over every single [putt]," Schwartzel said of his four birdie putts. "I think I just had so much confidence in my putting at that stage that I knew if I can relax, you know, my hands, that I would be able to make a proper stroke.
"And I was able to do that every time just before when I stood over the ball or got myself really calm, which is something you need to do when you putt."
2010 - Phil Mickelson (Callaway X Prototype 6-iron): Phil Mickelson has been known to pull off dramatic shots under pressure. His second shot from the pine straw on the par-5 13th hole during the final round was a prime example of Mickelson's "go for broke" style on the course.
Sitting in the pine straw 207 yards from the hole, Mickelson threaded a Callaway X Prototype 6-iron between two Georgia pines and watched as the ball cleared Rae's Creek and rolled to within four feet of the hole. Mickelson would go on to win the tournament by three shots.
"I had a good lie in the pine needles," Mickelson said. "I was going to have to go through that gap if I laid up or went for the green. I was going to have to hit a decent shot. The gap was a little bit wider -- it wasn't huge, but it was big enough, you know, for a ball to fit through. I just felt like at that time, I needed to trust my swing and hit a shot, and it came off perfect."
2009 - Angel Cabrera (PING i-Series 1/2 Craz-E B putter): Angel Cabrera appeared to be the odd man out when his tee shot on the first hole of a three-man, sudden-death playoff landed behind a tree. After clipping another tree with his second shot, Cabrera hit a wedge to 8 feet and rolled in the biggest par putt of the tournament with his PING i-Series 1/2 Craz-E B putter to stay in the playoff.
Cabrera started using the 39-inch counter balanced putter earlier that season at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. It featured a belly putter grip that extended almost halfway down the putter shaft and allowed him to achieve counter balanced feel and stability he was looking for.
Little did Cabrera know that the putter he used to win the 2009 Masters would later become one of the hottest putter models on the PGA TOUR. With the anchor ban set to take effect in 2016, a number of players have started using counter-balanced models in the past year that have a heavier head and putter grip for increased stability and control.