[PHOTO: Tracy Wilcox]
Rory McIlroy brought two putters to TPC Southwind this week for the opening PGA Tour playoff event in Memphis. His TaylorMade Spider X flatstick made the trip, but it’s been sitting on the bench this week at the FedEx St Jude Championship in favour of a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5
“I’ve got my Spider with me this week if that putter isn’t doing what I want it to do over the first couple of days. I may go back,” McIlroy said before play began at TPC Southwind.
“I sort of treat it like a 12-round tournament,” he added of the three playoff events. “You’ve got 12 rounds to play.”
The Phantom has stayed in the bag, and McIlroy has been so-so with it, ranking 40th in the field in strokes gained/putting for the week while lurking on the leaderboard in pursuit of frontrunner Lucas Glover.
The Spider, however, does get credit for something of an assist.
After shooting a third-round 68, McIlroy said his grip on the Phantom felt odd in the first two rounds, and when he lined it up next to the Spider, he discovered the Scotty Cameron club was half-an-inch longer. “It wasn’t like a huge difference, “ McIlroy explained.
But it was concerning enough that, with the equipment trucks long down the road for the week, he sent caddie Harry Diamond out on Friday night to get the club cut down at a local Edwin Watts golf store.
But, McIlroy added, they talked to a Cameron rep who said that by chopping it down the swingweight probably changed. So then they had to add weight to the bottom of the club on Saturday morning. “Just a couple of heavier ones,” McIlroy said.
It all seems a bit disconcerting in the middle of an event that has a $US20 million purse.
Did Saturday’s change make a difference? Not really. McIroy ranked 50th in the 70-man field in Strokes Gained: Putting in round one, 37th in round two and 41st in round three.