December 04, 2015
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Bubba Watson ranked 30th on TOUR in overall putting average last season. (Photo courtesy of PING)
Bubba Watson has been known to switch putters on occasion. At the beginning of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season, the two-time Masters champion replaced his PING Anser Milled 1 with a 38-inch counterbalanced Anser Milled that had a 17-inch grip and a 50-gram counter weight in the top of the handle.
While the counterbalance model lasted only a few weeks — Watson used it at the Farmers Insurance Open before going back to his trusty Anser Milled 1 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open — it proved Watson isn't afraid of change, especially when it comes to one of the most important clubs in his bag.
After using Anser Milled 1 for the majority of last season, Watson decided to make a change in the run-up to the Hero World Challenge. During a recent visit to PING's headquarters in Phoenix, Watson spent time testing a custom-milled Anser that featured two noticeable changes.
The first change was a move away from the sight line on the flange, an alignment aid Watson had relied on for years. According to PING Tour rep Christian Pena, Watson felt like he needed a new look to free himself up on the putting green.
Watson had PING remove the line and replace it was a sight dot on the topline that helped him feel less mechanical.
"Because he's such a feel player, he felt like he was getting too mechanical with the sight line and was relying on it too much for aiming," Pena said. "The dot just allowed him to use his natural abilities, his feel, when he's putting."
In addition to the sight dot, Watson's custom-milled Anser came with a noticeably lighter head weight. During the milling process, the initial head came in at 318 grams, more than 25 grams lighter than his 345-gram Anser Milled 1.
Instead of balking at the idea of using a lighter head weight, Watson gave the putter a test run and liked it so much that he had PING build a mid-weight version that weighed 329 grams.
"I had a chance to play with him during a practice round and he commented that he actually felt like he had more feel with the lighter head," Pena said.
Watson used the 329-gram custom-milled Anser — the putter has a silver finish and Watson's name on the bumpers — for the first time at the Hero World Challenge to record seven birdies and an eagle en route to a 5-under 67 during the first round.
"Bubba just wanted something new," Pena said. "He wanted to get away from the [rainbow-like] finish and get something that was customized for him. We're just kind of showing that we can build any kind of custom putter for any player."