Adam Scott switched to a standard-length putter at the WGC-Cadillac Championship this week, and is just the latest in a slew of golfers to have immediate success after switching from the long or belly putter.
Scott was spotted Wednesday with at least three putters in his bag, and eventually told the PGA Tour’s Jonathan Wall that he’d have an Odyssey White Ice Core #7 putter in play for the event.
Scott excelled on Doral’s often treacherous greens Thursday, gaining nearly 3 strokes on the field en route to a two-under 70, which could have been a lot better. After four birdies in five holes from holes 8-12, Scott bogeyed 13 and double-bogeyed the 14th.
Courtesy of Wall, here’s a look at Scott practicing with the short Odyssey putter prior to the first round.
On Thursday, the world No. 5 sank putts of 13, 15, 18 and 19 feet, in addition to a few testy par and bogey-saving putts from inside six feet. He looked more than comfortable with the standard-length putter in hand.
For some perspective on the biggest challenges of switching from a long or belly putter to a short putter, we looked to Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher Marius Filmalter, who works with James Hahn and Ryan Palmer specifically on their putting strokes.
“With a long or belly putter, the top of the club is at a fixed point, which allows the pendulum to function,” said Filmalter. “The law of the pendulum is what influences the stroke the most, and is the reason why these guys have had such success with long putters.
“With a shorter club, it’s important to get used to a different tempo. The shorter putter is easier to swing quicker, so you need to concentrate on keeping the tempo constant. Many guys went to the long putter because they had inconsistent acceleration. It’s much easier to jerk a shorter putter than a longer putter. Those making the switch need to focus on tempo and ball speed, as distance control will change dramatically.”
Keegan Bradley also had success in his first event with a short putter, the Hero World Challenge in December, where he finished T3. Brendan Steele switched to a short putter at last year’s Travelers Championship and shot 62 in the opening round. If Scott can pull off a victory at Doral, or even a strong week stats-wise with the short putter, he'll help alleviate any lingering concerns about the effect of the anchoring ban on tour.