Bubba Watson, who has habitually struggled with putting throughout his wildly successful PGA Tour career, is trying a new putting style this week at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Watson has chosen to try out the armlock putting stroke, where a player uses a longer-than-standard putter and locks it along the inner forearm of their lead putting arm. Being a left-hander, Watson is locking the putter in on his right forearm.
He’s gripping the Ping PLD custom putter using a JumboMax JumboFlat 17 armlock putting grip. The red, white and blue grip is 17 inches long and has a rounded bottom and a wider, flat top in a 130-gram package. The grip itself has some weight, but it’s not heavy to the point of trying to be counter-balancing to the weight of a putter.
Watson took up using the putter at the advice of friend Bryson DeChambeau, who has found a lot of success with the armlock style.
“I just copied Bryson DeChambeau,” Watson said Friday. “I tried to copy the other guys hitting fairways, try to copy the other guys hitting greens, and now I’m going to copy Bryson on putting. I got some texts from him this morning, he’s over in Saudi Arabia, so I got some texts from him this morning asking him some things. I think whenever he comes back I asked him for some more tips, personal tips where I can try to putt a little better.”
Watson said there’s not much risk in changing styles given his ranking on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. Other than getting the putter up the forearm, Watson is still figuring out ball positioning and some other setup issues.
“The only hard part is the lag putting,” Watson said. “I had two three-putts today just because of lag putting, trying to get that right, because it’s a different feel. Inside 15 feet, though, it’s a no-brainer. It feels so solid. I might not make all the putts that I want to make, but that’s what golfers do, right? They complain about not making enough.”