Thursday, February 19, 2009

After winning the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on the fastest, trickiest greens in recent memory, Retief Goosen's reputation as a great putter seemed permanently cemented. His 24-putt performance in the final round, which included 11 one-putt greens, was nothing short of miraculous.
Goosen won at Shinnecock Hills using a Yes! Tracy putter, a cavity back, heel-toe-weighted blade made from 304 stainless steel that is face balanced and features Yes!'s unique grooves in the sweet spot. But when it comes to the Dark Art of Putting, nothing is forever. In recent months, Goosen has been searching for a magic wand that will help him find the touch that earned him two majors and the No. 4 spot in the world rankings.
Last November he won the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia using an Odyssey 2- Ball Blade putter, but by early January it was gone and Goosen had switched to what appeared in photos to be the new TaylorMade Lambeau. That marriage didn't last long either, and on Tuesday of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, the Goose did what years before would have seemed unimaginable—he switched to a belly putter. Retiefgoosenbellyputter_600x450The belly putter Goosen is using is an extended-length Yes! Tracy with a healthy amount of lead tape running along the length of the sole. Click on the image to get a better look.
"The last couple of years, I've just putted bad," he said after shooting 64 at Pebble Beach last week. "I had a week off back in London, I was just fooling around in the garage there for putters and tried a few long putters. And then I thought I would sort of give it a try. It can't get any worse, I think, so I might as well try it."
Goosen said he struggled at Torrey Pines to find the right pace on long putts, but on short putts, he felt he made some good strokes. "If you can get some sort of confidence going again, just seeing yourself making some putts can help," he said. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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