Tiger's new putter fails to heat up
June 28, 2018
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods’ approach sets up 3-foot birdie at Quicken Loans
BETHESDA, Md. – Tiger Woods officially changed his putter but the results on the greens remained pretty much the same in a humid opening round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
Woods ranked 92nd of 120 players in Strokes Gained: Putting as he carded a grinding even par 70, leaving him seven shots off the pace set by leaders Andrew Landry and J.J. Spaun and in a tie for 48th place.
The 79-time PGA TOUR winner added a TaylorMade Ardmore 3 mallet style putter, ditching the blade style putter he used for 13 of his 14 major championships, after recent poor results on the greens.
Despite making just 48 feet, seven inches of putts Thursday – his longest being a birdie from eight feet, 11 inches – Woods said he was dedicated to the change.
“I am very committed to it. It's technology as well. We have the grooves in there just like when I was with Nike, helps roll the ball better, faster, earlier on the greens,” he said.
“I've always struggled on greens that are a little on the slower side and these greens aren't very quick right now and they won't be quick in three weeks' time, either.
“So it was a nice thing to move to a putter that rolls a little bit quicker, it has more swing to it. I've always liked putters that have some swing to it.”
Short of a few misreads on his back nine Woods was adamant he putted well despite missing five putts inside 15 feet, three of which were inside 10 feet.
“I rolled it well today, I really did. I hit a lot of good putts early that didn't go in,” Woods claimed.
“If I'm hitting putts on my line with my speed, then I'm happy. They'll go in eventually. It's been a while since I've done that.”
LANDRY GOES LOW … Last year TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm was the fourth hardest course on the PGA TOUR in its debut as host for the Quicken Loans National.
Nick Watney fired a final-round 64 for the low round of the week. That mark was broken Thursday morning this year as Valero Texas Open champion Andrew Landry fired an impressive 7-under 63.
J.J. Spaun then matched it in the afternoon for the pair to share the lead.
Landry’s bogey free round was a welcome one given he’s missed three cuts, had a WD, and been no better than T65 since his breakthrough win in April.
Just last week he opened with an 81 at the Travelers Championship. “I’ve been working the last few days on doing something a little bit different in my golf swing and getting a little bit further away from it and it's kind of making my plane a little bit flatter, which is what I need,” Landry, who sits 22nd in the FedExCup, said.
“It's definitely helping out and we'll see how it goes.”
BRACE SPAUNS' RESURRECTION … Earlier this season J.J. Spaun was being bothered by a pain in the back of his right hand.
It was bad enough for him to WD at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after nine holes.
But an MRI showed no problems so he battled on, playing at the Genesis Open and then The Honda Classic.
It was in Florida the pain reared up again and Spaun figured enough was enough.
So he went to see a hand specialist who works with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“He basically told me my ulnar nerve in my right elbow is compressed and it's either from overuse or sleeping on it incorrectly,” Spaun revealed.
“It's almost sort of like cubital tunnel syndrome, it's just kind of your arm, your hand goes numb.”
The diagnosis meant six weeks off as he wore a brace at night to alleviate the condition.
“I had to sleep in an arm brace at night. It keeps my arm dead straight so you can't bend it or sleep on it, so that was terrible for about a month,” Spaun added.
“But it's nice to kind of put that behind me and not really have to worry about it.”
Although he’s missed five of eight cuts since his return he finished third at the AT&T Byron Nelson and sits tied for the lead after a bogey free 7-under 63 here at the Quicken Loans National.
“I was making a lot of good putts from mid-range that I normally haven't been making. I felt a lot more comfortable over my putter as of late and it's kind of nice to hit a lot of greens, hit a lot of fairways and see some more putts go in,” he said.
PUTNAM IN … In his first 120 PGA TOUR rounds, Andrew Putnam had zero scores of 64 or better. In nine rounds since, he has shot 64 four times including his opening round.
Putnam missed six cuts in his first 11 starts of this season with no top-10s. In eight starts since, he is eight from eight making cuts with three top-10s including his runner up finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
“I've been playing good for the last couple months,” Putnam, who ranks 53rd in the FedExCup claimed.
“You can't score your best every single tournament, but I've made seven cuts in a row or more, so I would say that's a pretty good streak.”
MARC LEISHMAN – The 18th ranked player in the world hit just three fairways all day but still managed to shoot a 3-under 67 and sit in a tie for 10th.
RICKIE FOWLER – Fowler sat 2 over through 13 holes but ground his way home with two late birdies to post at even par 70 and in a tie for 48th.
KYLE STANLEY – The defending champion opened his account with a 1-over 71 to be T68
FRANCESCO MOLINARI – An impressive opening 67 from the world mo. 17 has him well poised in a tie for 10th.
BEAU HOSSLER – His incredible Thursday run continues with a 5-under 65 to be tied fifth.
QUOTABLESSounds so cliché but you've just got to be so patient out there because one loose shot and you can really get yourself into some trouble.This course is tough. It penalizes you, except for Leish today. He hit three fairways and shoots 3 under. That's hard to do on this place.It definitely wasn't pretty …
Low round: 7-under 63 – Andrew Landry, J.J. Spaun
Longest drive: 369 yards – J.B. Holmes on the par-4 6th.
Longest putt: 60 feet, 1 inch – Marc Leishman nailed a birdie bomb on the par-3 3rd.
Toughest hole: Par-4 11th played to 4.292 with just 10 birdies, 25 bogeys, seven doubles and two others.
Easiest hole: Par-4 14th. The drivable par-4 played to a 3.658 average with four eagles and 51 birdies.
CALL OF THE DAY
For play-by-play coverage of the second round of the Quicken Loans National, listen at PGATOUR.COM.
SHOT OF THE DAY
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