By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Can it be a major championship without Phil Mickelson possibly having a new club in his bag?
On the eve of the PGA Championship, at last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Mickelson put a new Odyssey Prototype putter in play prior to Round 2. It’s a “high-toe” version of an Odyssey No. 9-style putter, which Mickelson first saw in the Callaway/Odyssey trailer.
That version was made for Ryo Ishikawa, right-handed of course, but the Odyssey folks were able to design and build one for Mickelson in a week. Designer Austie Rollinson added offset to match Mickelson’s regular No. 9 putter, and Phil liked how the face was lower in the heel and higher in the toe, allowing him to release the head easier.
“It’s a takeoff on the No. 9, but it’s got a low profile heel and a raised toe that gives it kind of a hook roll,” the 2005 PGA winner said. “I probably should have gone to it (in Round 1) because it just rolls off the face like magic, and it has this great track. I was making a lot more 15- to 30-footers because it was holding such a tight roll.”
Mickelson shot 69 in his first round with the new stick before a 73-71 weekend left him tied for 43rd.
"I just didn’t want to change from my blade because that’s kind of been my identity, but I feel really good with this thing, and I’ll probably go back and forth,” Mickelson said. “This is something we’ve been working on for a while, and it just is fabulous.”
Stay tuned to see if the putter makes it to the first tee on Thursday at Kiawah Island, where the pros are saying the Paspalum greens are true but perhaps a touch slower than most PGA TOUR stops.
BELLY TALK: Webb Simpson discussed at the PGA how he’s practicing with two Scotty Cameron putters, adding a short one to his regular belly, just in case golf’s governing bodies make a move against anchoring. … Two players won on TOUR last week with Odyssey belly putters -- Keegan Bradley with a White Hot XG Sabertooth at Bridgestone and J.J. Henry with a White Hot XG No. 1.
INSIDE THE LOGO: TaylorMade’s design gurus create special logos for each major, full of little details unique to the tournament, the area and the course. This year’s version for Kiawah Island is on the right. Some of the special touches:
Orange and white trim at the top and bottom are colors often used in wind socks, and the Ocean Course gets plenty of wind.
Kiawah is hosting its first major, hence the “1” at the bottom, while its 1991 “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup heritage is also recognized with crosshairs in the center.
The triangle shape in the background is an arrowhead, signifying the Kiawah tribe that lived on the Island some 350 years ago, and the Indian theme continues with a teepee. Atop the teepee is a W – for the Wanamaker Trophy, the spoils given to the PGA winner.
A film reel is in the center of the logo since the course was used for the movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance” in 2000.
Here’s hoping this week’s PGA is better than that movie.
ETC.: Check out various apparel scripts for Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and other select players this week. … Sergio Garcia tested a new TaylorMade RBZ 5-wood last week in preparation for the PGA, seeking a higher-lofted companion to a trusty RBZ 3-wood. … Ben Kohles, the talk of the Web.com Tour with two wins in two starts as a pro, hit 17 of 18 greens last Sunday at the Cox Classic in Omaha with a Titleist ProV1x ball.
WINNER’S BAGS: Keegan Bradley at the
Driver: Cleveland Classic 290 (Miyazaki Kusala Indigo 61X, 9 degrees)
Fairway wood: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite FL (14 degrees)
Hybrid: Cleveland Launcher DST (18 degrees), Cleveland Mashie TM3 (20.5 degrees)
Irons: Cleveland CG7 Tour (4-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged (54, 58 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth belly
Ball: Srixon Z-Star prototype
J.J. Henry at the Reno-Tahoe Open:
Driver: TaylorMade R11S (9 degrees)
Fairway wood: Callaway Big Bertha Fusion (15 degrees)
Utility: Callaway X Prototype (21 degrees)
Irons: Callaway Razr X Forged(4-9)
Wedges: Callaway Razr X Forged (48 degrees), TaylorMade ATV (52, 58, 64 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG No. 1 belly
Ball: Titleist ProV1
Check out the top five shots of the week from the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and Champions Tour with highlights from Keegan Bradley, J.J. Henry, Ben Kohles, Louis Oosthuizen and Arnold Palmer.
It took J.J. Henry 144 starts to get his first career victory on the PGA TOUR.
Sunday, after a winless drought of 177 events, he got his second.
“I'll take it,” said Henry, who earned seven points under the Modified Stableford scoring in the final round of the Reno-Tahoe Open. “I hope I don’t have to wait another 176 starts.”
Henry, who ended the week with 43 points, held off Alexandre Rocha by one. With the victory, Henry earned 250 FedExCup points and earned a spot in next week’s PGA Championship.
The one-time U.S. Ryder Cup team member now hopes it sparks something in the second half of his career.
“I'm a little bit of a different time in my life with family. I'm 37. I've been out here 12 years,” Henry said. “For whatever reason I couldn't quite get over the hump and win like I did in 2006, and I made the Ryder Cup team that year, and I really felt like that would be kind of that turning stone for me, if you will, to really kind of jump me into that upper echelon, and for whatever reason it didn't happen. I continued to work hard; I play a lot of tournaments. Again, I'm grateful for the opportunity to play golf for a living. I've got great support, family and friends; and I couldn't be happier right now.”
One other member of Henry’s family who will be happy: His 3-year-old son.
“He goes, ‘Daddy, bring home trophy.’ And that's really all I thought about out there those last couple holes,” Henry said. “And I said it out there on the green, I'm coming home tomorrow with a trophy.”
J.J. Henry racked up 43 points to win by one at the Reno-Tahoe Open, where Modified Stableford scoring was used. The win is Henry’s second and first since 2006. He earned 250 FedExCup points and a spot in next week’s PGA Championship. Send your note of congratulations below and we’ll pass it along to Henry.
J.J. Henry held on to win the Reno-Tahoe Open on Sunday.
It’s Henry’s first victory since 2006. The win earned him 250 FedexCup points and a spot in next week’s PGA Championship.
Henry made four birdies and one bogey in the final round at Montreux G&CC, where he scored seven points in the final round of the Modified Stableford scoring system event.
Alexandre Rocha finished one point back after a birdie on the 18th hole, earning him three points to pull within one of Henry.
Henry two-putted for par, however, to secure the victory.
FOLLOW: Live scores
J.J. Henry continues to make the most of the back nine at Montreux G&CC, collecting 27 of his 36 points on the inward nine through 54 holes. What will he do as he tees off in the final round? If it’s anything like the first few days, he should be able to collect his first win since 2006.
Henry leads the field with three eagles through 54 holes after making holing a pitch shot from just off the green at the 308-yard par-4 14th on Saturday. It was the second time this week Henry jarred one from the fairway (the other came in the first round at the 423-yard par-4 12th, his third hole of the day, with a 9-iron from 167 yards).
Henry entered the week ranked 126 th on the PGA TOUR in total eagles with only three in his first 24 events.
The only other time Henry has held a 54-hole lead? The 2006 Travelers, where he went on to record his first and only career win.
He has a solid track record here, too, with three career top 10s, including a tie for third in 2002, in seven starts.
Should Henry go on to win, he would earn a spot in next week’s PGA Championship.
Chasing Henry is Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha, who is three points back.
Rocha is in position for his career-best finish on the PGA TOUR. Entering the Reno-Tahoe Open, Rocha’s best result in 41 TOUR events was a tie for 20th at the 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Classic.
Should he go on to win, Rocha would become the first player born outside of the United States to win in the 14-year history of the Reno-Tahoe Open. Rocha would also become the first player from Brazil to win on TOUR.
Following his second-round 12, J.J. Henry addresses the media to discuss his play at the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open.
After missing six of his first seven cuts this season, J.J. Henry seems to have found his rhythm the second half of the year -- especially in his last three starts with a tie for 13th, tie for 21st and a tie for 37th.
Friday, he continued that trend with five birdies and an eagle on his way to a dozen points in the second round of the Reno-Tahoe Open. Through two round, he has 22 points and has a share of the early lead with John Mallinger at Montreux G&CC, where the Modified Stableford scoring system is being used.
“It's all about controlling the distance out here,” Henry said. “If you control your distances, you're going to have some pretty good spots.
“I think this is a great golf course for this format. I'm so glad the tournament decided to go this route. The fact that you're at altitude and there is a lot of risk/reward, I think it sets up for a lot of excitement both for the players and fans.”
As such, Henry has had to change his approach -- being more aggressive doesn’t necessarily hurt a player since there’s more of a premium on birdies and eagles.
Still, it’s all about posting a number and Henry has been able to do that more often than not, at least lately.
“You're still trying to hit the ball on the fairway and hit a lot of greens and make an occasional birdie,” he said. “That's kind of what I've done the first couple days.”
Who says it’s hard to follow up a really low round with another? Troy Matteson, who opened with a 61 on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead over Ricky Barnes, has picked up where he left off during the second round of the John Deere Classic.
Matteson birdied his first two holes at TPC Deere Run to extend his lead and has added two more birdies on the back nine to move to 14 under through 14 holes. He has yet to make a bogey in 32 holes to far this week.
J.J. Henry is Matteson's closest pursuer right now at 10 under through 28 holes. He started on the back nine and made the turn in 31, then birdied No. 1 to move to 6 under for the day.
Those two are the only players in double figures right now. Three-time defending champion Steve Stricker, who opened with a 65, is 2 under through 13 holes in the second round and tied at 8 under for the tournament.