As GolfWRX WITB enthusiasts know, Dustin Johnson has been using a Scotty Cameron Tour Newport 2 GSS Prototype for the past several years and some variety of an Anser-style flatstick since he joined the PGA Tour.
He was 71st in Strokes Gained: Putting last season and 82nd in 2014. Not awful, but barely above average. This season, Johnson has been putting a bit better, ranking 42nd in the category and picking up 0.257 strokes on the field average thanks to his work on the greens.
Still, there’s always room for improvement, and this week the long-hitting South Carolinian made an equipment switch aimed at getting better in the putting department.
Related: See all the clubs Dustin Johnson used to win the BMW Championship.
Spotted by our Tour photographer practicing with a mallet-style Cameron model at Crooked Stick ahead of the BMW Championship, we thought a change might be in the works. And indeed, Dustin Johnson put a different putter in play during Wednesday’s practice round: a TaylorMade Spider Limited.
Through three rounds, Johnson led the field in Strokes-Gained Putting, picking up more than seven strokes on the field average. He was particularly good during the opening round, when he picked up an impressive 3.944 strokes.
Johnson rolled in six birdies with the Spider on Sunday, and ultimately finished second in strokes gained: putting for the week at 7.307.
Here’s how Johnson ended up with a Spider Limited putter in his hands: According to TaylorMade, DJ liked the look of Jason Day’s similar Spider putter while playing with the Australian during a couple of rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week. He put in a request to TMag’s Tour Truck for something similar, and they got something in his hands during his Wednesday practice round, feeling the Spider improved his alignment and offered him more stability through the stroke.
However, that Spider Limited was the same Limited Red model played by Jason Day. Just before tee off Thursday, though, Johnson decided he didn’t want to use the exact same model as the world No. 1 and decided, if you can believe this, to ask his brother/caddie Austin for his Spider Limited with a charcoal grey crown.
Johnson said after his win:
“I had the same one that Jason [Day] was using, it was the red one. I don’t know, for some reason — well, I was putting with it and I was putting good with it and right before we were about to tee off on Thursday I’m like, ‘AJ, don’t you have the same one in black?’ And he says, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘Go get it.'”
Here are the specs, per TaylorMade:
- Length: 35.5 inches
- Loft: 2.5 degrees
- Lie: 69 degrees
- Insert: Pure Roll 80/20
- Swing Weight: E-0
- Color: Black, No alignment lines
TaylorMade says Johnson is an extremely feel-based player, which is one of the reason’s he’s stuck with a flat-faced milled putter so long in his career. The Spider’s 80/20 Pure Roll insert results in a substantially different feel off the face than a milled putter, which is a lot to overcome, even though the insert does prove superior forward roll with less skidding, as verified by high-speed camera testing. TaylorMade also cites the slight toe hang of the Spider Limited as fitting well with DJ’s more traditional putting stroke.
Based on this limited sample, the Limited fits well, indeed.