Wyndham Clark and Rickie Fowler just sparked the newest putter trend
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Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
If you tuned into the U.S. Open broadcast from Los Angeles Country Club last week, you surely heard that champion Wyndham Clark recently started using a longer, counter-balanced Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter, which is a replica of Rickie Fowler’s putter.
More precisely, Clark’s U.S. Open-winning putter is a replica of a replica.
As the story goes, Fowler initially tried his caddie’s Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter just days prior to The American Express, and he put a replica of the putter straight into play that week.
“I was very shocked, because I never really looked into anything that was longer, counterbalanced, or anything like that,” Fowler said back in January. “It’s very interesting, but it’s kind of freeing me up in a way. I’m not changing stroke-wise, or setup, not gripping anything differently than my normal length putter. I just feel like it’s, I don’t know, kind of helping me do some things, and I don’t have to think about it.”
Shortly thereafter, seeing Fowler’s newfound success, Clark asked Odyssey for a replica of Fowler’s putter.
"We were playing at Medalist where he belongs in Florida, and I hadn't been putting good, and this was right before Bay Hill, and I played with Rickie, and he just made every single putt," Clark said. "Afterwards we were practicing a little bit getting ready for it and I hit a couple and I was like, ‘oh, gosh, this is really nice.’ So I texted the Odyssey guy, and I said, ‘hey, can you make me Rickie's putter?’ And he's like, ‘well what specs?’ I said, ‘the exact same.’ So literally had the exact same putter. And I joked with Rickie today, he changed the grip. He changed the grip and cut it an inch, so I was like, ‘all right, I got to change the grip and cut it an inch.’"
Clark has been a tear since the putter switch. Not only did he win the U.S. Open on Sunday, but he also won the Wells Fargo Championship in May and banked two other top-10 finishes (fifth at the Valspar Championship, sixth at the Corales Puntacana Championship).
Fowler himself has logged nine top-15 finishes on the PGA TOUR since his switch, including a T5 finish at the U.S. Open last week.
Clark and Fowler’s successes beg the question: Is the Jailbird putter the real secret sauce that it appears to be?
Well, on Tuesday at the Travelers Championship, GolfWRX.com spotted two more Jailbird putters flying around the practice putting green. This time, Kramer Hickok and Carl Yuan joined the flock.
Hickok’s version is slightly different than Clark and Fowler, since Hickok’s has a plumber’s neck rather than a double-bend configuration, but he does have the same lead-tape-slathered sole; the added weight in the head helps to achieve the proper swing weight by counteracting the longer and heavier grip. In general, counterbalancing helps some players achieve a steadier stroke and quieter hands, and the Jailbird mallet head – with a square hole in the center – helps drag the center of gravity away from the face to achieve greater forgiveness on mishits.
Speaking with GolfWRX.com on Tuesday, Hickok revealed that he received his Odyssey Versa Jailbird Tour-Only putter a few weeks ago, but as a longtime Scotty Cameron putter user, he didn’t seriously consider putting it into play. Clark’s performance at the U.S. Open last week, however, has him reconsidering.
“Success certainly leaves clues behind,” Hickok said, when asked if Clark’s win led to his Tuesday putter testing session. “Wyndham’s a good buddy of mine, and after his win, I had to bring it back out. It feels really stable in my hands throughout the stroke … I’m not sure if it’s the grip or the head, though.”
Clark told GolfWRX.com that he’s also going to test out a Scotty Cameron GoLo mallet, equipped with the same SuperStroke 17-inch grip that Fowler and Clark are using on their Jailbird versions.
Either way, the counter-balanced Odyssey Versa Jailbird mallet putter has the attention of fellow PGA TOUR players, and the trend is gaining momentum after Clark’s major victory.