Keith Mitchell rebounds from bent putter fiascoHis 67 at Wells Fargo Championship comes on heels of 82 at Valspar
May 06, 2021
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Keith Mitchell reaches in two to set up birdie at Wells Fargo
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Keith Mitchell briefly held the lead in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship before a late double-bogey left him with a 4-under-par 67 on Thursday.
It was a good round, not a great one, but in relative terms it was a whole lot better than the last scorecard he signed, a final-round 82 at the Valspar Championship outside Tampa on Sunday.
How to explain the drastic turnaround?
“My putter was bent on Sunday,” Mitchell said. “It was two degrees upright and a degree or so with too much loft which effectively is like six degrees of loft which is not what you need.”
Not that he knew that. All he knew was that his setup felt awful, he couldn’t get comfortable, and every time he stroked a putt it felt like the putter cover was still on. He tallied a whopping 42 putts as his 82 dropped him to last among those who made the Valspar cut.
Mitchell was flummoxed. Hadn’t he been playing well?
He didn’t figure out what happened until Tuesday at Quail Hollow, when his coach was the first to notice the problem: Mitchell’s mallet putter, a TaylorMade Spider, didn’t look right as he set up on the practice green. They took it to the equipment truck, where the technicians confirmed it was bent. They fixed it, bending it back true, and Mitchell went out for his practice round.
He feels a little better about his horrific finish to the Valspar, but at the Wells Fargo, where he’s tied for fourth, three behind leader Phil Mickelson, he still wonders how the club got so bent.
“I don't know,” he said. “I mean, I got angry a couple times on Saturday, but I don't know if it was any of those. I know I just realized all my putts were missing and I couldn't figure out why.”
Mitchell hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, and took 28 putts at Quail Hollow on Thursday.
It was a far cry better than 42. Said a bemused Mitchell, “It’s got to be a TOUR record.”