December 21, 2017
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Francesco Molinari brilliant-birdie putt
New equipment contracts don't go into effect until Jan. 1, but for Francesco Molinari, a former Nike Golf equipment staffer, the window to sign elsewhere has remained open following the Italian's decision to play the 2017 season without a full-bag deal.
For at least one club in the bag, that will change in 2018 after Molinari agreed to terms on a putter deal with Bettinardi Golf. Currently ranked 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking, Molinari began playing the company's BB56 mallet last season at the Italian Open
“I’m delighted to have signed with Bettinardi and using what I believe to be the best performing and finest looking putters on Tour,” said Molinari. “I’ve tested different Bettinardi models in my quest to win on tour in 2018 and make the Ryder Cup team again, and the BB56 sits perfectly for me. I love the technology involved and how passionate the brand is on creating quality putters."
Molinari joins a Tour stable that already includes Matt Kuchar, Ben Silverman and Jim Herman. Last season, Molinari, who currently works on his putting with noted instructor Dave Stockton, finished runner-up at the PGA Championship and BMW PGA Championship, while also recording a top-10 showing at THE PLAYERS Championship.
“The prospect of having Francesco on Team Europe and Matt Kuchar, who has been a brand ambassador for nearly five years, on Team USA playing Bettinardi putters at the Ryder Cup is something we’re really excited about,” said president and CEO Robert Bettinardi.
The BB56 putter Molinari currently has in the bag is a new model in Bettinardi's 2018 lineup. Taking a page from Antidote and iNOVAi, the mallet is milled from 6061 military grade aluminum and features a topline weight made of 303 stainless steel.
Positioning the heavier stainless steel directly behind and above the equator of the ball at address raises the center of gravity, resulting in less skipping and a more consistent forward roll. The stainless steel weight also has a black sightline for alignment purposes.
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