Mickelson claws through his putting woes
By Zak Kozuchowski
GolfWRX Managing Editor
If at first you don’t succeed, try something different.
That seems to be the putting mantra of PGA Tour players these days, who are accommodating new putters and putting styles at a faster rate than ever.
But even with a record number of players using unconventional putting methods, it came as a surprise when four-time major champion Phil Mickelson was seen putting with an modified claw grip on the greens at the Barclays Championship two weeks ago. Maybe even more surprising was how well Mickelson putted using the grip.
Mickelson used a belly putter for the first time during the 2011 PGA Tour Race for the FedExCup, but his results left much to be desired. This time around in 2012, however, Mickelson’s new putting style has yielded spectacular results. Using the grip last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he finished fourth in the Tour’s Strokes Gained-Putting statistic, moving him from 12th to sixth for the year.
“[With the new grip] His touch has been so phenomenal,” Jim “Bones” Mackay, Mickelson’s longtime caddie, said. “Not only from 15 feet and in, but his touch from 40 feet has been so good.”
With Mickelson’s new grip, his right hand is in a traditional position, but the index finger and thumb of his left hand are the only part of his left hand on the putter grip. Not surprisingly, Mickelson, who has struggled with missed short putts in the past, said he plans to continue to use the grip going forward. Time will tell if the grip is just another one of Mickelson’s experiments, or if the change will stick.
Take a look of the pictures of Mickelson’s grip below, and click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.