By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
A putting change for Phil Mickelson
made little difference over the weekend at Bethpage
N.Y. --Nick Watney won The Barclays with his ball striking. He hit
his first 15 greens and wound up hitting 17 of 18, despite some
inconsistent driving. Watney led the tournament in birdies making
23 of them including six in the last round. He did take an
unusually large amount of putts, 34 in the final round, but
that’s a reflection of his hitting 17 greens. Watney ranked
16th in strokes gained - putting this week and that’s a huge
improvement over his performance this season. Watney came into The
Barclays ranked 122nd on TOUR in the statistic.
Sergio Garcia lamented his putting in the final
round and said green speed was one reason for the inconsistency.
The greens were watered on Saturday night and were much slower on
Sunday. Garcia also regretted his par 5 performance. He did not
birdie a single par 5 in the final round.
Tiger Woods had an interesting situation in the
final round. He hit his tee shot into the water hazard fronting the
eighth green. His ball was inside the yellow demarcation line but
just outside the water. A marshal marked the ball in the hazard
with a red flag. When Woods arrived at the ball, he asked the
marshal to remove the flag, saying he did not know if he could
touch something in a hazard. Woods then chipped to 20 feet and made
“par of the day” by sinking the putt. What about
touching that flag in the hazard? It would have been fine, similar
to removing a rake in a bunker. Woods just wanted to err on the
side of caution.
It was almost exactly a year ago, Phil Mickelson
experiment with a long putter. This season he is working on the
“brush stroke.” Mickelson modified his grip while
putting for the weekend rounds, using something similar to a
modified claw. How did it turn out? Mickelson took 28 and 30 putts
on Thursday and Friday then took 28 and 30 putts on the weekend. He
made eight birdies in the first 36 holes and seven birdies on the
The Black Course at Bethpage State Park was
much different for the final round. Greens had to be saturated
overnight to result in such a dramatic change in speed. It was
noticeable on the first hole where putts repeatedly came up short
of the cup. There was also a change in wind direction. It blew out
of the east for the first time this week. Players had to make quick
It was not a good weekend of putting for Tiger
Woods. After taking 28 putts on Thursday and 29 on Friday, he had
31 and 30 strokes on the weekend. Woods ended the tournament ranked
41st for the week in strokes gained - putting. It appears to me,
Woods gets quick in transition, which does not give the blade time
to close. He frequently missed putts to the right of the cup.
It’s the exact same stroke he struggled with at the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
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