Saunders, armed with Arnold Palmer's old putter, within striking distance in West Virginia
Saunders sits just two strokes off the lead heading into the final round at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
July 07, 2018
By Helen Ross , PGATOUR.COM
- Sam Saunders, armed with his grandfather's old putter, sits just two back at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia — Until three weeks ago, Sam Saunders said the putter was probably in his attic with all the others he has accumulated.
But Saunders wanted a change, and the old reliable he’s using this week at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier is special. The Odyssey two-ball putter belonged to his grandfather, Arnold Palmer.
So far the putter, one of Odyssey’s original two-ball models, is serving Saunders extremely well at the Old White TPC. He’s made 15 birdies with it and sits two strokes off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
It’s not the first time Saunders — who shot 67 on Saturday — has used the putter in competition. It was in his bag from his junior year in high school through some of his college years at Clemson. He also used it early in his pro career.
But as if often the case with golfers, the flat stick eventually fell out of favor. It’s only been in the last month that Saunders started playing with it again.
“When I first turned pro and got my first few starts on the PGA TOUR in 2010, I used that putter and putted really well with it that year, actually,” he said. “As every young guy out here does, you see all these beautiful putters out here on the green and you have one bad week and you start trying everything else. I’m sure I’ll change again.
“But it’s a great putter and he did tell me it’s one he wanted me to use so hopefully it’s got some good luck in it.”
Saunders said he doesn’t have quite the stockpile of clubs that Palmer had. But he tends to keep putters, and this is one of two that belonged to his grandfather that Saunders has used in competition.
“I always tend to go back to the few that I’ve had good success with,” said Saunders, who remembers winning junior tournaments with the Odyssey. “It’s something I’ve used for a while and always had a good feel for it.”
Saunders thinks the last time Palmer played with that putter was at Augusta National in 2004, though. It was his final Masters, and Saunders caddied for him.A close-up look at the putter previously used by Arnold Palmer. (Charlie Kane/PGA TOUR)
“I’m pretty sure that was the one that he was using,” Saunders said. “He loved that two-ball putter, and I think this was the one he used in the latter part of his career.”
Now Saunders is giving it new life. And the putter just may propel Palmer’s grandson to his first PGA TOUR win on Sunday.