July 15, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson used an Odyssey Versa #9 putter in his 2013 Open Championship win. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Equipment Report highlights the top five players in a statistical category, and the club they used to get to the top. But since it's Open Championship week, we're switching things up and taking a look at the most important club used by the last five winners of the year's oldest major championship.
Phil Mickelson - Odyssey Versa #9 putter (white/black/white)
Phil Mickelson called his final round putting performance at Muirfield one of the best of his illustrious career — and rightfully so. Five shots back at the start of the final round, Mickelson closed the tournament with a back-nine 32 that included four birdies over his final six holes to win by three shots.
"It's as good as I ever putted in my career," Mickelson said. "I've been fortunately putting like this for quite some time now. Links greens have actually been, I think, the reason why I have not been in contention very often here. More so than some of the ball-striking. And I putted these greens phenomenal. Some of the best I've ever putted.
Mickelson used an Odyssey Versa #9 to win his fifth major championship. The 34-inch putter featured three alternating black white lines on the head that helped keep the face square at impact. Mickelson's putter also had a black putter shaft, additional offset and a custom sight line that was added early on during the 2013 season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Ernie Els - Odyssey White Hot XG1 putter
The 2012 Open Championship will be remembered for Adam Scott's gut-wrenching collapse that saw him squander a four-shot lead with four holes to play during the final round.
Ernie Els didn't know it at the time, but his 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole proved to be the deciding shot of the tournament.
With the victory, Els became the third player in four major championships to win with a belly putter or long putter when he used a 44.5-inch Odyssey White Hot XG1. Els started testing the putter in 2011 at the RBC Heritage and switched later that year.
Darren Clarke - Scotty Cameron for Titleist Tour Rat prototype putter
Darren Clarke's first major championship wasn't decided until the back nine, but it was some early success with the putter during the final round that helped the Northern Irishman build a lead he would never relinquish.
Clarke made a 12-foot par putt on the first, an 8-footer on the third and holed a 20-foot eagle putt on the seventh to take a two-shot lead. Clarke did it all on the putting greens with a Scotty Cameron for Titleist Tour Rat prototype.
When Clarke won The Open Championship, Tour Rat — the putter was initially called "Scotty Cameron R&D Proto Concept 1" — had just been unveiled on TOUR at the beginning of the 2011 season.
The Tour Rat was an Anser-style head with adjustable Circle T weights in the sole. During the design process of Tour Rat, Cameron took the best individual qualities of several Newport style putters and combined them into one model.
Clarke added a custom black finish and yellow paintfill to the TOUR-only flatstick that's since been used by, among others, Jimmy Walker and Matt Jones to record PGA TOUR wins.
Louis Oosthuizen - Ping Redwood Anser putter
Louis Oosthuizen claimed his seven-shot victory at the 2010 Open Championship was closer than it looked, but the way the South African was putting during the tournament, nobody was going to catch him.
Oosthuizen made big putt after big putt on The Old Course's large double greens, going 24 consecutive holes without a bogey. And when his lead was cut to three shots during the final round, Oosthuizen responded with an eagle on the ninth hole to stretch his lead to five shots.
“I felt I needed something to get me going and the eagle was the thing that did it," Oosthuizen said. "During the final round I made good putts when I had to and rarely missed anything under six feet."
Oosthuizen coasted to victory using PING's 100-percent milled Redwood Anser putter that launched in 2007. The putter marked PING's first foray into the milled putter industry and was named for the town of Redwood City where company founder Karsten Solheim designed his first putter in the family garage.
Stewart Cink - Nike prototype putter
Three players (Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Webb Simpson) have used a belly putter to record major championship wins in the last three seasons. For Stewart Cink, his major championship win came after he decided to shelve a Never Compromise Sub 30 M3 belly putter he'd used for most than six years for a standard-length Nike prototype putter.
Cink's TOUR-only putter was a heel-toe-weighted, Anser-style blade that featured the company's low-durometer polymetal groove technology on the face that was designed to reduce skidding on the greens and get the ball rolling faster.
The prototype, which was later released in the year as Nike's "Method" line, was used by Cink and Lucas Glover (U.S. Open) to record major wins during the 2009 season.
Cink made a 12-foot birdie on the final hole of regulation with the putter to force a playoff with Tom Watson. During the four-hole playoff, Cink opened with two pars before going birdie-birdie over the final two holes to win by six shots — the largest margin of victory in the playoff format.