By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Can it be a major championship without Phil Mickelson possibly having a new club in his bag?
On the eve of the PGA Championship, at last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Mickelson put a new Odyssey Prototype putter in play prior to Round 2. It’s a “high-toe” version of an Odyssey No. 9-style putter, which Mickelson first saw in the Callaway/Odyssey trailer.
That version was made for Ryo Ishikawa, right-handed of course, but the Odyssey folks were able to design and build one for Mickelson in a week. Designer Austie Rollinson added offset to match Mickelson’s regular No. 9 putter, and Phil liked how the face was lower in the heel and higher in the toe, allowing him to release the head easier.
“It’s a takeoff on the No. 9, but it’s got a low profile heel and a raised toe that gives it kind of a hook roll,” the 2005 PGA winner said. “I probably should have gone to it (in Round 1) because it just rolls off the face like magic, and it has this great track. I was making a lot more 15- to 30-footers because it was holding such a tight roll.”
Mickelson shot 69 in his first round with the new stick before a 73-71 weekend left him tied for 43rd.
"I just didn’t want to change from my blade because that’s kind of been my identity, but I feel really good with this thing, and I’ll probably go back and forth,” Mickelson said. “This is something we’ve been working on for a while, and it just is fabulous.”
Stay tuned to see if the putter makes it to the first tee on Thursday at Kiawah Island, where the pros are saying the Paspalum greens are true but perhaps a touch slower than most PGA TOUR stops.
BELLY TALK: Webb Simpson discussed at the PGA how he’s practicing with two Scotty Cameron putters, adding a short one to his regular belly, just in case golf’s governing bodies make a move against anchoring. … Two players won on TOUR last week with Odyssey belly putters -- Keegan Bradley with a White Hot XG Sabertooth at Bridgestone and J.J. Henry with a White Hot XG No. 1.
INSIDE THE LOGO: TaylorMade’s design gurus create special logos for each major, full of little details unique to the tournament, the area and the course. This year’s version for Kiawah Island is on the right. Some of the special touches:
Orange and white trim at the top and bottom are colors often used in wind socks, and the Ocean Course gets plenty of wind.
Kiawah is hosting its first major, hence the “1” at the bottom, while its 1991 “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup heritage is also recognized with crosshairs in the center.
The triangle shape in the background is an arrowhead, signifying the Kiawah tribe that lived on the Island some 350 years ago, and the Indian theme continues with a teepee. Atop the teepee is a W – for the Wanamaker Trophy, the spoils given to the PGA winner.
A film reel is in the center of the logo since the course was used for the movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance” in 2000.
Here’s hoping this week’s PGA is better than that movie.
ETC.: Check out various apparel scripts for Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and other select players this week. … Sergio Garcia tested a new TaylorMade RBZ 5-wood last week in preparation for the PGA, seeking a higher-lofted companion to a trusty RBZ 3-wood. … Ben Kohles, the talk of the Web.com Tour with two wins in two starts as a pro, hit 17 of 18 greens last Sunday at the Cox Classic in Omaha with a Titleist ProV1x ball.
WINNER’S BAGS: Keegan Bradley at the
Driver: Cleveland Classic 290 (Miyazaki Kusala Indigo 61X, 9 degrees)
Fairway wood: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite FL (14 degrees)
Hybrid: Cleveland Launcher DST (18 degrees), Cleveland Mashie TM3 (20.5 degrees)
Irons: Cleveland CG7 Tour (4-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged (54, 58 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth belly
Ball: Srixon Z-Star prototype
J.J. Henry at the Reno-Tahoe Open:
Driver: TaylorMade R11S (9 degrees)
Fairway wood: Callaway Big Bertha Fusion (15 degrees)
Utility: Callaway X Prototype (21 degrees)
Irons: Callaway Razr X Forged(4-9)
Wedges: Callaway Razr X Forged (48 degrees), TaylorMade ATV (52, 58, 64 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG No. 1 belly
Ball: Titleist ProV1