By John Schwarb and Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
A T17 finish wouldn’t have been an especially notable effort in his heyday, but for Ernie Els right now, such a week at the RBC Canadian Open was positive news. His last top-20 on the PGA TOUR was a T15 in mid-March at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
The 41-year-old South African is seeing optimism in his game in part due to the addition of an Odyssey White Hot XG belly putter – perhaps an unusual sight in the Big Easy’s hands, but nothing out of the ordinary given the current trend on TOUR toward long putters.
“For most of my career I was really one of the better putters. But last year I started feeling my path of my stroke was screwed up, and I was cutting across the ball,” Els said. “I kind of got to that age, you know, playing under the gun for such a long time that you're going to feel uncomfortable on some of the shorter putts.
“I was kind of playing with the long putter in practice and then my putts were a lot better with it. I tried to go back to the shorter putter, and I found that I was again cutting the ball a bit. So I just figured, you know, I'll really try it in competition.
“So from the U.S. Open (on) I've been playing with this longer putter, and it's starting to feel really good.”
SEAN’S STUFF: TaylorMade staff player Sean O’Hair had the company’s woods and irons in the bag as usual at the RBC Canadian Open but used a Titleist Scotty Cameron California Fastback prototype putter. “The winner of the event,” as he was stealthily identified in Titleist’s blog, put the putter in play after working with Titleist folks at the British Open the week prior.
One other oddity in O’Hair’s bag at Shaughnessy – his two wedges were 52 and 60 degrees. An eight-degree gap between wedges is sizable, and rare for a TOUR pro.
GHOSTLY: TaylorMade’s new Ghost Spider’s large size and white paint make it stand out from most putters on TOUR. Andres Romero gave it an even more distinctive look at the RBC Canadian Open, where he finished one shot out of the Sean O’Hair-Kris Blanks playoff.
Romero was third in the field with 26.2 putts-per-round average using a UST Mamiya Frequency Filtered shaft in the Ghost Spider. The shaft employs interlinked carbon fiber in the butt section of the shaft to filter out unwanted vibrations. The bottom portion of Romero’s shaft was painted white, matching the color of his Spider Ghost.
FURYK FIX?: Jim Furyk, still searching for the form that won him last year’s FedExCup, auditioned new drivers at the RBC Canadian Open pro-am and chose a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 with an Aldila RIP 65-gram shaft. The listed loft is 10.5 degrees but he had it bent to 9.
Furyk finished T34 at Shaughnessy, his best finish since a T31 in May at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
NICE DIGITS: How’s this for a major perk? Darren Clarke’s TaylorMade Penta TP now sports a 140, for his win at the 140th British Open. Check it out here.