“It’s a putter I’ve been using for some seven or eight years now,” Jordan Spieth told talk-show host Jimmy Fallon of his trusty Scotty Cameron 009 in an interview last year. “It used to be black but now it’s all rusted, chipped up and there’s like rust on the inside of it. I still use it. There’s been a couple nights I’ve been happy enough I’ve slept with it.”
Pretty cool story really, given that it means the same putter he used as a 15-year old boy was also the same one that saw him reach nearly $30 million in career earnings.
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, huh?
But the thing is, it was a little broke. Well, relatively anyway.
For the 2017 season, Jordan Spieth ranked 39th in Strokes Gained: Putting until last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. Respectable enough on the face of it, but given that the Texan has found himself inside the top 10 for this particular statistic for the past two years, it’s fair to say that his usual X-factor hasn’t quite been there with the flatstick.
And after missing the cut at the Players Championship a fortnight ago, Jordan Spieth decided the time was right for a change, as he caught the eye of keen enthusiasts by wielding a new Scotty Cameron Futura T5W Tour Mallet putter at TPC Four Seasons.
“It’s nothing crazy new, but obviously, I’ve got a putter I’ve worn out for a number of years and it helps me line up a bit better, this one right now, and that’s kind of been my struggle is lining the putter up where I want to,” Jordan Spieth said after a first-round 68 on Thursday.
“I’m falling into a nice line and a nice setup, which has left me more comfortable. I just haven’t quite dialed in the speed yet, and I wasn’t sure what that would be like today. A little off on the speed. So, hopefully I can make the adjustments.”
Incidentally, it didn’t significantly improve his putting fortunes. Although his total of 27 putts that day was below his season average (29.03), he ranked outside the top 50 for strokes gained in putting on day one, before slumping to a 75 on day two that saw him miss a second weekend in succession.
“I haven’t been comfortable standing over it for a little while, and so I just wanted something that’s a new look, and the bigger a deal that’s made out of it the more bothersome that is for me,” he added prior to Friday’s difficulties.
“It’s not really that big of a deal, and every guy switches putters every single week. It’s nothing new. Just a new look for me for the time being.”
We wouldn’t want to add to the “bother”, and will reserve judgment on the impact of his new Texas wedge until he’s played more than 36 holes with it. Also, the putter wasn’t too culpable as his record at the Byron Nelson is poor anyway, with a best finish of T-16 as a 16-year old. But it was striking how different this new-look Scotty is – and how similar it is to the FX5R he briefly dabbled with at the 2014 Open, and BMW Championship a year later.
Two rear prongs extend away from the sides of the face. Interestingly, there are two alignment aids on the top of the putter; one that homes in on the sweet-spot and a second which is slightly removed from the face, and is roughly the width of a golf ball. There are white flange lines parallel to each wing too, in an effort to perfectly frame the ball.
Clearly a major focus on alignment, which also resonates with what Jordan Spieth identified as the key drawcard. Old habits die hard, and, despite what he said last week, parting ways with a putter that has served him so well over the years will not have been an easy or impulsive decision.
“I’m striking the ball as well as I’ve struck it this entire year,” the 23-year old noted. “My wedge play and putting are yet to kick into gear and it just takes a bit of momentum on course.
“I can do all the practice I want, it’s just seeing some go in on course, whether it’s one round or through a streak of two tournaments, just to feel like it’s all the way back to top notch. So, it’s close.”
Maybe, just maybe, a change will be as good as a holiday, and the magic that’s been lacking on the greens will return with this impressive-looking putter in the month and years ahead. Either way, we’ll be watching with keen interest.