Lyle draws attention with giant Black Swan

Sandy Lyle of Scotland looks on from the second hole during the first round of the Masters. Lyle is using a Black Swan putter this week.

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— Black Swan and its slightly smaller sister, Black Hawk, are among the most-distinctive putters in golf.

There was a Black Swan sighting Thursday at the Masters, as former Masters and British Open champion Sandy Lyle used the putter while shooting a 1-over-par 73.

Both Black Swan and Black Hawk have huge rectangular black heads. They are probably the largest putter heads in golf. The concept of inventor David Kargetta, a longtime automotive engineer, was to enhance stability and create a putter that is extremely forgiving on off-center hits.

In his demonstrations, Kargetta likes to place three balls side by side, then use one of his putters to hit all three balls simultaneously. Invariably the three roll about the same distance.

The first Black Swan sighting came at the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2012, when Matt Every nearly won the tournament with a fearsome putting display. Later that same year, Lyle used the putter to shoot closing rounds of 66-64 and tie for fourth in the the Senior PGA Championship.

Shortly thereafter, Lyle put the putter in his closet. For the Masters, he reunited with the Black Swan.

“At the Senior PGA, I had a very, very good putting week,” he recalled. “I was putting on greens very similar to these (at Augusta National) in terms of undulations and speed. So I brought it here and played a practice round. I had six birdies and 26 putts, and it went in my bag again.”

Later he added, “The ball rolls straight; there is no deviation. So far I’ve felt a lot more comfortable on these very fast greens.”

Kargetta has been content to grow his business (www.one-putts.com) slowly, and he does not pay any player to use his putter.

The nicknames for Kargetta’s putter are many. “It looks like a brick on a stick,” is typical of the comments.

The cost of his putters are $259 for Black Hawk and $299 for Black Swan. This includes a putting lesson with a certified instructor. Kargetta says his mission is to donate all profits to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Meanwhile, the 55-year-old Lyle looked ahead to his goal of making the Masters 36-hole cut. It has been exactly 25 years since he won the Masters, so he is trying to be realistic about his chances this week.

He totaled 29 putts in the first round, which he called “satisfactory but not great,” and he appears to be looking for a Swan ride in the second round.

Said Lyle: “I would say 23 or 24 putts would be fantastic."

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