Tiger Woods’ switch to a new putter didn’t seem to help Thursday at the Quicken Loans National.
To paraphrase The Who: “Meet the new putter. Same as the old putter.”
Tiger Woods again struggled on the greens Thursday in the first round of the Quicken Loans National. He opened with an even-par 70 and stands in 48th place, seven shots out of the lead held by Andrew Landry and J.J. Spaun.
Ranked 89th on the PGA Tour in putting coming into the week, Woods has struggled for several tournaments on the greens. After his Wednesday practice round, he decided to switch from his Scotty Cameron putter to a TaylorMade Ardmore.
"“It just didn’t feel right. Wasn’t looking right,” Woods said about his old putter after his round. “So, time for it to sit on the bench for a little bit, and then I’m sure it will come back eventually.”"
The rest of Woods’ game is solid. He is the only player ranked in the top-five this season in strokes gained off the tee, approach to the green and around the green. He hit a good approach to the 12th, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt.
At the following hole he again had a good look for birdie but missed from six feet.
Woods finally made his first birdie of the round at the 14th, hitting his approach to three feet. He added another birdie at the 16th, this time from eight feet. The only blemish on his round came at the sixth hole after his drive hit a tree and travelled only 198 yards.
His took a drop after his second shot went into a hazard and made double-bogey on the hole.
Despite seeing good opportunities roll by the hole, Woods is optimistic that his putting is in good form.
"“I hit good putts, they just didn’t go in. Which is fine. I don’t mind that at all,” he said. “I misread two putts on the back-nine, so be it. But I hit a lot of good putts today, on my line, with the speed I wanted…I haven’t done that in awhile. That’s a positive sign. Keep doing that, and eventually they’ll start rolling in”"
The move to the Ardmore putter is not just about this week, however. With the Open Championship coming up in three weeks, Woods expects slow greens at Carnoustie. He feels the new putter allows him to roll the ball with more speed.
"“I am very committed to it. I’ve always struggled on greens that are a little on the slower side and these greens arent’s very quick right now and they won’t be quick in three weeks’ time, either. So, it was a nice thing to move to a putter that rolls a little bit quicker,” he said."
Even with the slow start to the tournament, Woods believes he still has a chance if he has a good second round.
"“We’re not too far back. Just have a few good holes early…then all of a sudden you’re right back in the game.”"
After speaking to the media, Woods headed straight to the practice green to continue getting acclimated to the new putter. Ben Hogan said that the secret to playing good golf is found in the dirt. Woods just has to go find it.