Equipment changes before a major are rare. Putter changes before a major are virtually unheard of.
Guys might experiment with a driver or two the Monday before. And a new wedge could occasionally slip into the bag. Depending on the venue, a driving iron or hybrid might make a temporary appearance. But almost never is the putter, the most important and intimate club in the bag, jilted for a new mistress on the eve of one of the Big Four.
But Phil Mickelson did just that, putting an Odyssey prototype in the bag the Friday of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The club resembles an old friend, the No.9 model he has used in the past, with a low profile heel and a raised toe.
According to Mickelson, the design gives the putter “a kind of a hook roll.”
Whether it’s the newness of the romance or the mechanics of the instrument, Mickelson averaged 28 putts per round with the new putter, putting him T13 in the field. He also gained 1.217 strokes per round putting, seventh in the field.
“It just rolls off the face like magic, and it has this great track,” Mickelson said. “I was making a lot more 15- to 30-footers because it was holding such a tight roll.”
Rain precluded practice on Tuesday and Mickelson canceled his press conference, so nobody could confirm if the affair continues. But if it does, Phil will once again generate a lot of a buzz with his decision making.