Tiger Woods Using a New Putter at PGA Championship is Bad News for 16th Major

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods with his new putter. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In his pursuit of perfection, or perhaps simply golf nirvana, Tiger Woods has always tinkered with his game. His swing has famously undergone several makeovers, with each producing varying levels of success. Likewise, his driver, woods, irons and balls have also evolved with the times. The biggest constant, or at least the biggest constant during his success at majors, has been his famous Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype putter.

Unfortunately for those backing Woods during this week's PGA Championship, that club has been put away. Instead, Woods will opt for his backup Scotty Cameron. It's similar to his famous putter, but it ain't Billy Baroo.

Now, before we go any further, no, this isn't the first time Tiger has changed putters as a pro. He repped Nike putters for a few years during their failed foray into the golf equipment game and also tinkered with a few Taylor Made options as recently as 2019. He's also tried different Scotty Camerons, but he's been his best with Newport 2 GSS prototype.

Outside of his 1997 Masters win, Tiger has won all 14 of his major championships using the Newport 2 GSS prototype. He switched back to that putter at the Tour Championship in 2019, which he won, and also used it when he won the 2019 Masters.

The main reason why I assume he's changing putters is he didn't putt particularly well the last time we saw him on Tour at the Memorial Tournament in July. He finished the tournament 56th in shots gained putting, which is on the lower third of those who made the cut. He also finished T-61 in three-putt avoidance and averaged 29.75 putts per round, which isn't good. Still, hard to argue with 14 majors using one putter. Apparently it also helps his back.

Tiger knows his game and body better than anyone, and as much as it pains me to admit, that includes me, so clearly there's a smart reason he's making this change. But based on history, don't expect it to work out for a player who is still three majors away from tying his childhood idol Jack Nicklaus and reaching the goal he set for himself all those years ago.