Toy Box: New Bettinardi putter aids Kuchar

Matt Kuchar hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the semifinal round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Matt Kuchar hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the semifinal round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Golfweek was on the phone Feb. 25 with putter designer Bob Bettinardi when he received a text message on another phone. It was from Matt Kuchar, winner of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “Thanks, the putter was working,” the text read.

That’s an understatement. Throughout the week at Dove Mountain, Kuchar made many key putts using an aptly named Bettinardi putter: the Kuchar Signature Model 1. And soon, you’ll be able to own a Kuchar flatstick, too.

“We’re planning on coming out with a line of putters for Matt,” Bettinardi said. “There are so many golfers out there who are thinking of going to his method of putting (a mid-length putter with the shaft nestled firmly against the lead arm). To start with, we would have two models to choose from: Model 1 and Model 2. We realize that most golfers wouldn’t use the same specs as Matt.”

Kuchar’s Bettinardi putter is 44.75 inches, with a 395-gram carbon steel head, 71-degree lie angle, 2.5 degree of shaft offset, single sight line and 7 degree of loft.

“He needs that much loft because he has a huge forward press,” Bettinardi said.

Kuchar’s putter grip was a SuperStroke 21-inch belly model that had been cut to 17 inches.

• • •

Kuchar’s tools of the trade: Along with the new Bettinardi putter, Kuchar had four other manufacturers’ clubs in his bag. His lineup: Bridgestone J40 430 driver (9.5 degree, with Accra M4 Plus 55 Tour Prototype shaft), Ping Anser 3-wood (14.5 degree, with Mitsubishi Diamana Blueboard 73X shaft), Ping Anser hybrid (20 degree, with Fujikura Motore Speeder HB 90X), Fourteen 4-iron (Aerotech SteelFiber i95 Constant Weight S shaft), Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back black finish irons (5-PW, with Aerotech SteelFiber i95 Constant Weight S shafts), Bridgestone J40 black oxide wedges (52 and 56 degree, with the 56 bent to 57; with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400) and a Titleist Vokey Design SM4 lob wedge (62 degree). He played a Bridgestone Tour B330-S ball.

• • •

Equipment counts from WGC Match Play: TaylorMade achieved another quadruple victory in the official equipment count by finishing first in usage in four categories – drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons – at the Match Play.

Titleist won the count in golf balls and wedges.

Odyssey was tops in putters. Of 64 players at the Match Play, 24 used Odyssey putters.

• • •

Garcia tests new TaylorMade putter: Sergio Garcia was seen experimenting at Dove Mountain with a TaylorMade MC-72 putter. It has a half-moon shape and is face-balanced. Regardless, he stuck with his TaylorMade MA081. Since last fall’s Ryder Cup, Garcia has been using a SuperStroke Slim 55 putter grip with Ryder Cup graphics.

• • •

Mahan relies on Ping clubs: The bag of WGC Match Play runner-up Hunter Mahan: Ping G25 driver (9.5 degree, with Aldila Phenom NL 60X shaft), Ping G25 3-wood (15 degree, with Graphite Design GT 8X shaft), Ping i15 hybrid (17 degree, with UST Mamiya VTS Black 85X shaft), Ping Anser Forged irons (3-PW, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts), Ping Tour wedges with Gorge Grooves (54 and 60 degree, with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts) and Ping Scottsdale TR ZB S putter. He played a Titleist Pro V1x ball.

• • •

Short shots: Rory McIlroy went from 9.5 degree to 10.5 degree in his Nike VR_S Covert Tour driver. McIlroy also put a new VR_S Covert 3-wood (15 degree) into his bag. . . . In honor of Francesco Molinari’s new partnership with Pirelli, Nike regripped all of his clubs with yellow Pirelli grips by Lamkin. . . . When Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano showed up for the Match Play, he suggested that his Callaway X Hot Pro fairway wood was going too far. So technicians solved his problem by increasing the loft from 12.5 degree to 13.1 degree. . . . Jim Furyk is leading the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, hitting 75.68 percent of fairways. His driver is a standard Callaway X Hot (9.5 degree) with a Graphite Design Tour AD Di7X shaft that was tipped 1 inch for a finished length of 44.5 inches. . . . Russell Henley’s Nike VR_S STR8-FIT driver (9.5 degree, with Graphite Design Tour md-7X shaft) was tipped 1 inch before the Match Play started.

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