Equipment Report

    Putter switch works out for Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele at the Memorial

  • Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa saw putter changes pay off early at the Memorial Tournament. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa saw putter changes pay off early at the Memorial Tournament. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

DUBLIN, Ohio – Early pace-setters Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele both found form in the opening round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide after changing putters pre-tournament.

Morikawa’s 6-under 66 was the best of a weather interrupted opening round with Schauffele not far behind following a 68. They needed just 27 and 28 putts respectively with their new weapons.

It was a story of back to the future for Morikawa.

Despite winning the 2020 Workday Charity Open (a one-off event at Muirfield Village the week before the Memorial Tournament held due to the pandemic) with a blade style putter, the 24-year-old had since switched to a mallet style FCG TaylorMade putter.

The mallet, combined with a saw grip, helped him claim the World Golf Championships – Workday Championship at The Concession earlier this season. But Morikawa wanted a more comfortable mindset and switched back.

“The mallet, once in a while I just have a hard time setting it up and setting it down. And the best putters they're never fidgeting with their putter, they just put it down and they know where they're aiming, they know what it's doing,” Morikawa explained.

“So it’s a new putter, but it's the same blade I used actually last year at this tournament, I used it a lot coming out of college. It's just got a SuperStroke grip on, (and) a little different loft.

“Overall, it's a putter that I've used before, I feel comfortable with, I just wanted to go back to a blade because I've putted with a blade my entire life and why not just go back and figure out the things that I've been working on and forget about the stroke, forget about the putter, just try and make the putt.”

While Morikawa is known to tinker with his putting the change was a little more surprising coming from Schauffele who ranked ninth on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting leading into the tournament.

But Schauffele made a switch none-the-less, employing an arm-lock version of his regular putter as he looks to get even more advantage on the greens. Interestingly enough the four-time TOUR winner believes the putters should be banned.

“My putting coach, my whole team honestly, we're very against change and I had to see what the craze was about. I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on TOUR, switching putters or the style of putting. (But) it's a distinct advantage,” Schauffele said.

“I am for banning the armlock putters, but if everyone else is going to use it and I feel like they have a bigger advantage, I may as well do the same.”

Schauffele said he’s got his sights on being the best putter on TOUR, this season that spot is currently held by South African Louis Oosthuizen. Leading into this week Oosthuizen gained +0.996 strokes a round putting while Schauffele sat at +0.737.

“I know how good it can be and I think you still have to read putts and get the speed down correctly, but I'm in a very similar setup compared to my old putter and I know I can putt with a shorter putter, so I figured if I can get an advantage on the greens and maybe get to first in putting, that would be something special. So I'm giving it a go,” he added.

“It's better, it's easier. It's more consistent. My coach and I work a lot in San Diego on start lines and making sure the ball's doing what we think it's doing. And the fact that it's anchored to your arm, you can flinch in your hands, but you can't flinch your entire left arm, so that's the process behind that.”

The rules of golf outlawed anchoring to the body in 2016 but Schauffele thinks the armlock style should be included in that ban.

“Because it takes the stress of putting out of the game. Obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card,” he said.

“And so it's ruined people's careers and it's helped people's careers. I think putting is an art in our game and when you can lock it into your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that.”