Toy Box notes: Easy putting fix

Ernie Els is a big guy, and big guys often have trouble getting comfortable when they putt. So what changes has The Big Easy made to again look so relaxed over his putts? In winning at Doral, he averaged only 26.8 putts per round.

First, Els shortened his putter 1 1/2 inches. The Odyssey White Ice No. 5 he used at Doral was 35 inches, considerably less than the 36 1/2-inch putters he has used in the past.

photo

Ernie Els won the CA Championship on Sunday.

Els is being tutored by South African golf professional Marius Filmalter, whose research was instrumental in the development of two widely used electronic putting analyzers – the SAM (Science and Motion) and the TOMI (The Optical Motion Instructor).

“We changed his posture quite a bit,” said Filmalter, reached by phone after his pupil romped at Doral. “All the tall guys need to putt a little bit different from the short guys. They tend to lose connection.”

Els bends at the waist more than in the past. The putter shaft and his arms are in a straight line. And his putter is lighter.

“Longer putters tend to be really heavy,” Filmalter said, “and then it’s not the easiest thing to control your distance.”

Els is averaging 28.45 putts this year (27th on Tour), compared with 29.3 in 2009 (113th).

• • • 

Shaft report: Els had KBS steel shafts (X-flex) in his Callaway X Prototype forged irons.

He used True Temper Project X graphite shafts in his driver and 3-wood. Els had a steel True Temper Rifle shaft in his 5-wood.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Rayon won the driver shaft count and the total wood shaft count at the WGC-CA Championship.

• • • 

Doral drivers: Els put a new Callaway FT Tour driver (8.5 degree) in his bag for Doral. That gave him half as many Callaway drivers as Phil Mickelson, who carried two during the first three rounds.

Mickelson used his regular FT Tour (7.5 degree), but also added an FT-5 (8.5 degree). Basically, the FT Tour was for distance and the FT-5 for accuracy. Even though the FT-5 had more loft, Mickelson used it to keep the ball down in the wind.

Spaniard Alvaro Quiros used his FT-5 (9.5 degree) to lead the field in driving distance with a 316.9-yard average.

• • • 

Putter lofts: Two-time PGA Championship winner and short-game instructor Dave Stockton appears to have a huge influence these days on the world of putting. Among other things, Stockton advocates additional putter loft and a forward press to start the stroke.

Billy Mayfair is using a TaylorMade Rossa Daytona that Stockton gave him. It has 4 degrees of loft.

And TaylorMade’s new Rossa Monza Spider Vicino putter that is being supplied to Tour players has 3.75 degrees of loft.

• • • 

This and that: Titleist won the iron, wedge, putter and golf ball counts at Doral and Puerto Rico. . . . Although LPGA players favor the Titleist Pro V1 over the Pro V1x by more than a 2-to-1 ratio, Yani Tseng used the Pro V1x in winning the Women’s Australian Open. That ratio is reversed on the PGA Tour – the Pro V1x is preferred roughly 2-to-1 over the Pro V1. . . . TaylorMade’s TP xFT interchangeable face wedges have provided all sorts of possibilities for creative players. At Doral, Martin Kaymer, Mike Weir, Peter Hanson and Sean O’Hair used a new face with 14 grooves rather than 16 on the standard face. Some Tour players are installing new faces for every tournament, while others switch every few events.

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