May 06, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- A grip change has led Phil Mickelson to return to a reliable putter entering THE PLAYERS Championship. (Harry How/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Phil Mickelson posted his best finish of the season at the Wells Fargo Championship (T-11) but struggled during the final round with his putting, recording 33 putts — including a four-putt on the par-4 16th hole — en route to a 4-over 76 that ended his tournament hopes.
The putter struggles led Mickelson to make a rare Monday visit to TPC Sawgrass to work on his putting with short-game guru Dave Stockton. Mickelson worked with Stockton for close to an hour on the practice green with a couple different putters in an attempt to fix a weak grip that was causing him to block putts.
"It was a pretty simple fix," Mickelson said. "The putter felt really good (Monday) when doing it. It felt really good today with the stroke. Hopefully, we identified what it was, because I've really been putting well the last couple of years."
Up until this week, Mickelson had been using an Odyssey Versa #9 (White/Black/White) putter dating back to last year's victory at The Open Championship.
But following the practice session with Stockton, the five-time major winner noticed that his old Odyssey White Hot XG Prototype blade — a putter he used to win the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am — actually worked better with his grip change.
"I just felt, with the grip change, it made it easier to not have a line on the club to help get my hand over in a better position, so it wasn't weak" Mickelson said. "That's basically the only reason why I ended up going to a blade this week was it just made the grip change easier."
While Mickelson has used the Versa #9 almost exclusively since last season, he did put the White Hot XG Prototype blade in play for one round during last year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Mickelson plans to put the old putter in play this week with a SuperStroke Slim 3.0 grip, the same model that was most recently on his Versa #9.