By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Last week’s winner on the PGA TOUR, 173rd in FedExCup points and No. 218 in the world before The Greenbrier Classic, was unusual enough.
But the flatstick Ted Potter Jr. wielded in winning at The Old White TPC was even more of an unknown.
During close-ups in the CBS broadcast on Sunday, you may have noticed the “Piretti” script on the back of Potter’s putter. The center-shafted head looked similar in shape to many other major manufacturers’ offerings, but the script set it apart.
Piretti is a putter company based in Spring, Texas, that has had a few putters show up in pros’ hands – Henrik Stenson used a Piretti at the Masters this year, Golfweek notes – but never in a winner’s hands until Potter.
Potter led the field in Strokes-Gained Putting at 2.016 with a Cortino CS prototype, one of the few lefthanded models the company has made.
The company’s website sells various stock putters for $290-$325, and only four retail outlets are listed in North America – two in Texas, one in California and one in Ontario, Canada. The company says its putters are 15-45 grams heavier than competitors’, to improve accuracy, and that all putters have 2.5 degrees of loft, one to two degrees less than others for golf’s seemingly always faster greens.
Potter’s Piretti isn’t as wild as the Orion Black Hawk putter that Matt Every used in nearly winning the Sony Open in Hawaii, but it’s a winner. Time will tell if more Pirettis find their way into TOUR bags.
‘D’ THEM UP: Four more TOUR players put the new Titleist 913 drivers into play at The Greenbrier, with Greg Chalmers, Harrison Frazar, and Hunter Haas using 913D2s and Matt Jones using the slightly smaller-headed 913D3.
Martin Flores was the top finisher at The Greenbrier with the new driver, finishing sixth with a 913D3.
Check out the Titleist blog for a look at how Rory McIlroy went about having his 913 dialed in at home in Northern Ireland.
SNEDS: Earlier this year Brandt Snedeker won the Farmers Insurance Open with TaylorMade SuperFast metalwoods – among the last non-white TaylorMade models on TOUR.
Six months later, TaylorMade has him seeing white. A long testing session on Wednesday at The Greenbrier included testing the RBZ, RBZ Tour and R11S heads, looking for one to help him turn the ball over easier. The winner? An R11S with the FCT hosel tuned between standard and lower, plus 11 grams of weight in the heel and 1 gram in the toe.
WINNER’S BAG: Ted Potter Jr. at The
Driver: Cleveland Classic Tour (Miyazaki Kusala Black 61X, 10.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Cleveland Launcher Composite (15 degrees)
Hybrids: Cleveland Mashie (18, 20.5 degrees)
Irons: Cleveland CG1 Tour (4-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Piretti Cortino CS prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
SILVIS, Ill. -- Tee times have been released for the first two rounds of this week’s the John Deere Classic. Here’s a look at some of the notable and more intriguing groups.
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Scott Piercy, Rory Sabbatini, Charley Hoffman: Piercy is coming off a top 15 finish at Greenbrier. Sabbatini and Hoffman both have top-five finishes recently -- but no wins.
Ted Potter Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney: One week after his unlikely win at The Greenbrier, Potter finds himself paired with a couple of A-listers at TPC Deere Run. Johnson already has a win this season, and the Iowa native badly wants to win this event.
K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink: These three veterans all have multiple PGA TOUR wins -- but Choi's 2011 PLAYERS win remains the most recent. Byrd won this tournament in 2007.
Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas: Already with a win this season and three previous John Deere titles, Stricker is the favorite this week. He is paired with Kyle Stanley, whom he beat with a birdie on the 72nd hole last year.
Well, I am back from a week’s vacation, and just in time to discuss a first-time winner on the PGA TOUR: Ted Potter Jr. Now, I must admit I was a bit partial to Troy Kelly in the playoff -- I had the great opportunity to work with Troy some towards the end of last year on the Web.Com Tour -- but am very happy for Potter and his first win.
Ted hit a lot of great shots during the three-hole playoff, but the one that stuck out for me was that short little pitch shot on the second playoff hole just short of the green. How many times have we all been in this situation? Just short of the green, need to carry a small greenside bunker onto the front portion of the green, and then let it release some. It doesn't seem too difficult, but with the tournament on the line and a lie that seemed a bit skinny and tight, it was a certainly a situation that would test anyone.
When facing these tight lies around the greens, here are three keys to learn from Potter's technique:
1. Start with the clubshaft forward and return it forward at impact. It's very important to use the leading edge some on this shot, so creating a forward leaning clubshaft is paramount in order to help manage this lie.
2. Short arm swing with a hinge. It is so easy to create too much movement during the backswing on this shot. This excessive movement creates an environment to decelerate through impact. Keep the arm swing conservative but be aggressive with the hinge allowing the clubhead to still work up the plane.
3. Turn the chest towards the target. Ted did a great job of keeping his chest turning through the shot, supporting this downward movement of the clubhead. It's so easy on these shots to try to help it with the hands at impact, so create a good hinge during the backswing and trust yourself through impact and turn the chest through the shot.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.
ORLANDO – Thomas Bjorn and Bo Van Pelt withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard on Wednesday.
Van Pelt, who had a knee injury, was replaced by Ted Potter Jr. while Marc Leishman, who tied for third last year, landed Bjorn’s spot. Michael Bradley is now the first alternate.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Ted Potter Jr., who is playing in just his second PGA TOUR event, has moved within a shot of the lead currently held by Camilo Villegas.
Villegas is 8 under through 15 holes while Potter is tied for second with David Toms. Villegas and Potter, who has played 14 holes, are playing the Nicklaus Course, while Toms is through 13 at La Quinta.
Potter should have come to the Coachello Valley with confidence. The Nationwide Tour grad tied for 13th in his PGA TOUR debut at the Sony Open, shooting three rounds in the 60s at Waialae last week.
Another rookie, Bud Cauley, is among three players tied at 6 under through 14 holes at La Quinta. Also in that group are Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Sutherland, both of whom are playing the Nicklaus Course and are through 12 and 13 holes, respectively.