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June 20 2012

6:39 PM

Webb’s putter and a hybrid for Bubba

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Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open with a long putter. Do you care?

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

The first time was a watershed moment, a game-changer, a flashpoint for golf and where it supposedly was going.

The second time? “Meh” seems to be the collective reaction.

When Webb Simpson’s 1 over total at The Olympic Club survived the final groups, he became a first-time major champion. Of interest to equipment junkies is that his putter became a two-time major champion of sorts, as the second long putter to win a major.

Keegan Bradley won last year’s PGA Championship with a long putter. Reaction to that was pointed in some corners, such as online comments here and at other golf discussion forums.

If you were outraged then, are you equally mad this time around?

The long putter revolution is clear in the amateur ranks, where inventories have swelled at course pro shops and big-box retailers in response to consumer interest. On the PGA TOUR, however, the putters haven’t taken over the game as some anticipated.

Last year, nine wins were recorded with longer putters but that pace hasn’t held true in 2012. So far this year, four players have won with long putters – Bill Haas (Northern Trust Open), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Matt Kuchar (THE PLAYERS Championship) and Simpson. That’s it, through 26 events.

So maybe traditionalists are happy as well as the long-putter establishment. Or are they? Tell us below what you think of another long putter winning a spotlight event.

TEAM TITLEIST: Titleist scored not only with staff-player Simpson winning the U.S. Open, but in two other spotlight moments from U.S. Open week.

Nick Watney scored just the third albatross in 112 years of U.S. Opens, rolling in a Pro V1x from 190 yards out with an AP2 5-iron. John Peterson, in his “hello” weekend on the PGA TOUR, aced the 180-yard par-3 13th hole with a Pro V1x and a Titleist MB 7-iron. It was his first career hole-in-one.

COLORFUL: Jim Furyk tweaked his Callaway Razr Fit driver in advance of the U.S. Open, removing weight from the toe and adding weight to the heel to keep from losing shots to the right.

During practice rounds he used a gold-accented driver (from the company’s udesign program), paying homage to his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, but went back to standard black for tournament play.

BUBBA … HYBRID?: If you haven’t put a hybrid in your bag yet, look at it this way – even the longest hitter on TOUR can find reason for one. Bubba Watson, first in driving distance this season at 315.1 yards, put a 21-degree Ping i20 hybrid in his bag for The Olympic Club. He figured the hybrid would serve him better off some tees, though ultimately he failed to make the weekend.

WINNER’S BAG: Simpson at the U.S. Open:
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (UST Mamiya AxivCore shaft, 10.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F, (13.5, 17 degrees)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H (21 degrees)
Irons: Titleist 680 MB (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design TVD (54, 58 degrees) 
Putter: Ping G5i Craz-E Long 
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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