Equipment: Key clubs used by FedExCup winners
August 20, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods' trusty putter has helped him to lift two FedExCups. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
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 the start of the FedExCup Playoffs, we're switching gears and taking a look at the most important club used by all seven FedExCup winner.
Henrik Stenson - Piretti Cottonwood II prototype putter
Riding a red-hot putter for most of the year, Henrik Stenson became the first player to win the season-long FedExCup chase and European Tour's Race to Dubai in the same calendar year.
Prior to his win at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Stenson's Piretti Cottonwood II prototype putter was a relative unknown. Founded by Mike Johnson in 2008 — an avid rock climber from Utah who didn't pick up the game until his early 20s — the Spring, Texas-based Piretti putter company made its mark on TOUR in 2012 when Ted Potter Jr. used a Cortino center-shafted prototype to win The Greenbrier Classic.
By the time Potter recorded his first TOUR win, Stenson had been using a Piretti putter since early 2011. After working on a few prototypes with Johnson, Stenson settled on a Cottonwood II prototype that had a neck that was a quarter-inch long than the standard version, creating less toe hang and allowing Stenson to release the putter head. The 365-gram putter also featured 2.5 degrees of loft.
"I managed to scramble for par on 16 and 18," Stenson said of the key putts he made down the stretch during the final round of the TOUR Championship. "I guess on 18 it was more just get it up on the green there, and we could play around a little bit and still be the champion. So it was kind of a nice feeling there."
Stenson went on to win the Deutsche Bank Championship and TOUR Championship with the putter in the bag, putting the Swede and Piretti on the map.
Brandt Snedeker - Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie
Known as one of the best putters on the PGA TOUR, Brandt Snedeker used an old Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie putter to become the first player inside the FedExCup top 5 to claim the season-long title since Tiger Woods in 2009.
Snedeker finished the 2012 season ranked first on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and second in total putting with the seven-year-old putter. After using a similar putter back in high school, Snedeker stuck with the mallet model — it features a White Hot XG insert — recording all six of his TOUR titles with the trusty putter.
"I've tried out other putters before, but this one just suits my eye," Snedeker said. "I made a lot of big putts with that putter during the 2012 season and it paid off. When you have trust in your putter and you're rolling it well, it's a great combination. Lucky for me I was able to win the FedExCup that year."
Snedeker put himself in a perfect position to control his own destiny with two top-10 finishes (The Barclay and The Deutsche Bank Championship) in the first three events of the Playoffs, setting the stage for his three-shot win at East Lake.
Bill Haas - Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled wedge (60 degrees)
Bill Haas' 2011 season can be summed up by one career-defining shot during the second playoff hole at East Lake. After making a crucial downhill 12-footer for par on the first playoff hole, Haas watched as his approach shot on the par-4 17th rolled off the green and into a greenside water hazard.
"Anything can happen," Haas said of the lie in the water, "and we get up there and that's when I see the ball, and I say in my head, I have a shot,"
With the ball half-submerged in the water, Haas sized up the lie with his 60-degree Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled wedge (E-Grind bent to 59-degrees) and hit a perfectly executed shot that checked and stopped three feet from the hole.
"I don't know how it came out perfectly like that," Haas said. "You play it like a bunker shot, for those of you that want to know, if there's a little bit of water, if you don't mind getting your feet dirty, and then blast it out of there. It came out perfect. Lucky."
While the shot may have been "lucky," master wedge craftsman, Bob Vokey, said the wedge's E-Grind and Spin Milled grooves also played a role.
"The full sole of the Vokey 60-degree E helped Bill pull off the shot," Vokey said. "He was able to open up the face and still have enough bounce to play it like a bunker shot. The grooves of the wedge along with a descending blow allowed him to spin the ball, even out of the shallow water."
Jim Furyk - Callaway JAWS wedge (60 degrees)
Jim Furyk's Yes! Sophia putter received most of the attention after his TOUR Championship victory, and rightfully so. Struggling with his belly putter for the first three rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Furyk wandered into a local golf store in South Easton, Mass., and purchased a $39 Yes! Sophia putter that eventually helped the 16-time PGA TOUR winner win $10 million.
There's no doubt the putter played a key role, but it was actually his bunker play that propelled him to victory at the TOUR Championship. Following back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th, Furyk watched as his tee shot on the par-3 18th found the right greenside bunker.
Using a 60-degree Callaway JAWS wedge that featured aggressive shot-making grooves, Furyk hit a shot from the wet sand that checked up and nearly found the bottom of the cup before settling just a couple feet behind the pin.
"Let's just say I had a lot of confidence, and it came off the club perfect, was getting a lot of those skips," Furyk said of the bunker shot. "A lot of our pitch shots on the back nine were almost hydroplaning. You could almost hear them spinning. And then after two or three hops, they would grab and stop dead. From my perspective I had kind of the worm cam. I was just stop, stop, stop, I knew I was spinning like crazy, but I heard everyone cheering from down there. I couldn't tell if it was five feet or two feet. It kind of appeared like it was a four-footer, like I still had some work left. I was happy to see it was pretty much dummy proof."
Furyk went on to call it "the best bunker week of my career." He finished the tournament a perfect 9-for-9 from the greenside sand.
Tiger Woods - Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter
Major changes were made to the points structure of the FedExCup Playoffs, as the points were reset prior to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Even with the new playoff twist, Tiger Woods won his second FedExCup title in three years thanks, in large part, to a clinical eight-shot victory at the BMW Championship that allowed the 14-time major winner to control his own destiny at the TOUR Championship.
Woods shot a course-record 9-under 62 during the third round of the BMW Championship that included eight birdies and an eagle, stretching his lead to seven shots after 54-holes. Using a Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter, Woods went 8-for-10 on putts inside 15 feet during the round.
Woods used the same Cameron putter since 1999, winning 13 major titles with it, before switching a Nike Method 001 putter at the 2010 Open Championship,
Vijay Singh - Never Compromise Milled Series Long putter
Vijay Singh was assured of winning the season-long FedExCup title after he won The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship to build an insurmountable lead. It was all thanks to his Never Compromise Milled Series Long putter that allowed Singh to separate himself from the pack during the FedExCup Playoffs.
Although he won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a Never Compromise GM2 Exchange #7 belly putter, Singh switched to a Never Compromise Milled Series Long putter in the run-up to the FedExCup Playoffs.
The putter change paid off in a big way.
When the FedExCup Playoffs began, Singh ranked 125th on TOUR in putting average (1.801 putts per hole). At The Barclays, he finished 32nd in the field in putting average (1.736), and improved to seventh (1.627) at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
"I think through the past weeks and months and years, with the media talking about my putting and writing about my putting and people talking about my putting and people want to help me, I must have had hundreds of letters and phone calls and all saying that they can fix my putting,'' Singh said after his win at The Barclays."You know, at the end of the day, it kind of gets to your head that you're not a good putter.
"So I made a point that I'm going to change that attitude, and I believed in myself that I'm the best putter, and I came out here with a different attitude, and I putted great."
The positive mindset on the putting green allowed Singh to coast to victory — and pocket a cool $10 million.
Tiger Woods - Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter
If Tiger Woods had the opportunity to hand out an MVP award to one club in his bag during the 2007 FedExCup FedExCup Playoffs, it no doubt would've gone to his putter.
Coming off wins at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, Woods rode a hot putter into the FedExCup Playoffs, finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship before reeling off two wins to close out the FedExCup, including an eight-shot stroll at the TOUR Championship.
"I don't know how many amazing putts I made this week, I really don't," Woods said after his TOUR Championship win. "Like I told Stevie [caddie Steve Williams] early in the week, I really tried to make it feel as if I was back in junior golf because the greens were basically this speed in junior golf, a little bit bumpy, and you have the same mentality, get up there and just whack it, make sure you get it to the hole."
With his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter in the bag, Woods led the field in putting average and putts per round during his two playoff wins. He also averaged only 27 putts per round and 1.517 putter per GIR during the TOUR Championship.
For Woods, there wasn't a single shot that defined the 2007 FedExCup Playoffs. Instead, it was an incredible putting display that made him look unbeatable during his two playoff victories.