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August 10 2011

8:10 PM

Tiger talk, Scott’s putter, and an ace

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Tiger Woods has a new shaft in his Nike VR Tour driver.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

Eagle-eyed Tiger Woods fans have noticed his putter rotation over the past year, from his mainstay Scotty Cameron to a Nike Method to a Method mallet-style and, this week, back to a Nike Method blade similar to the Cameron.

But there’s one more significant change in his clubs – the shaft of his Nike VR Tour driver.

“I went away from the Diamana I’ve used for a long time and went to a Graphite Design, which I played at THE PLAYERS and last week (at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational) as well,” Woods said Wednesday at his PGA Championship press conference.

The shaft is a Graphite Design Tour AD DJ model, new for this year. It features a mid kickpoint and is optimized for high trajectory and mid-range ball spin. It’s also mostly red in color.

Anything else new in the four-time PGA champion’s bag?

“Oh, fresh wedges,” Woods said. “But that’s nothing new. Same design.”

NOT THAT HARD: Much of the pre-tournament discussion has focused on the length at Atlanta Athletic Club, specifically the 264-yard par-3 15th hole.

“I thought it was a par 4. I don’t think you’re going to be too disappointed if you walk off with a 4,” Charl Schwartzel said.

How about walking away with a 1? That’s what Webb Simpson did in a Tuesday practice round, using this Titleist 910 hybrid that Golf.com’s David Dusek captured.

VALIDATION: A long putter hasn’t been part of a major championship-winning bag yet, but with Adam Scott’s win at the elite WGC-Bridgestone, that time seems to be approaching.

Scott admitted that his Scotty Cameron Kombi long putter – which towers over the rest of the equipment in his bag – was a kind of last-ditch effort to improve his putting. But no one’s questioning it now, or ruling out Scott’s chances at winning a major on the heels of his WGC title.

“I mean, I was very frustrated and I hadn't thought about it. So yeah, I guess it's a last resort,” Scott said Tuesday in Atlanta. “Got some interesting reactions. Certainly turned a few heads when I showed up at the (WGC-Accenture) Match Play with a long putter. But to be honest, I think a few people have taken notice of the way I'm rolling the ball. I mean, it's a noticeable improvement from where I was.”

Everyone in golf has noticed.

“Whatever works, there's so many guys using so many different methods now,” British Open champion Darren Clarke said. “If you go back maybe ten years or so, the belly putter was frowned upon, the long putter was frowned upon, left-below-right (grip, for a righthanded player) was frowned upon.

“You've got Robert Garrigus, how long is his putter, 27 inches or something; you have so many different

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methods and so many different things. It's just another method nowadays, which obviously Adam Scott looks fantastic with it. To me, he looks really natural with it and looks really comfortable with it, and obviously it worked very well last week.

“I spoke to Adam about it, and he's very pleased with it. He said he can't see himself going back to a short one at all.”

INSIDE THE LOGO: As it does for all the majors, TaylorMade has designed a special logo for this week’s PGA Championship. Some of the company’s staff pros are carrying it on their bags.

The four-leaf clover in the center symbolizes the birthday of Bobby Jones, the legendary Atlanta amateur. He was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1902.

Jones won 13 major championships (back when majors included the U.S. and British Amateurs), which explains the 13 rays surrounding the clover. Inset in the rays is the number 265 – the score David Toms shot at Atlanta Athletic Club 10 years ago.

The style and shapes around the logo harken to the Art Nouveau movement popular at the turn of the 20th century, which was also around the time AAC was founded (1898).

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