Michelle Wie has long looked for answers with the putter, ranging from the conventional to the more cutting-edge, including the table-top putting stance that proved successful for a time. Now, Wie is back on the LPGA after returning from wrist and hand surgery too soon, and she’s got a new putting stroke she hopes will help her in the first major of the year.
At this week’s ANA Inspiration, Wie is using the armlock style of putting perhaps made most famous by Matt Kuchar and his success with the method. The armlock putting method uses a belly-length putter that is then held against the lead arm in the stroke to create stability. It’s an effective workaround for the anchoring ban, which prevented players from creating an anchoring point on the belly or chest of a player’s body. However, under the anchoring ban, the USGA and R&A made it clear it was OK to lay a putter grip — and therefore part of the putter itself — up the forearm of a player.
Some have wondered aloud if this will be the new form of anchoring eventually banned once it proves successful. Not only has Matt Kuchar found notable success with it, but Bryson DeChambeau has rocketed up the Official World Golf Ranking using an armlock style to putt. Bubba Watson has experimented with the technique as well.
These players have found keeping the arm and putter shaft connected leads to less wrist in the action and a more fluid stroke. That eliminates some of the yips, as well keeps the putter face square longer through the stroke. Wie is putting her own spin on the style with a left-hand-low approach, meaning the putter runs even further up her arm.
In recent years, Wie had resorted to a rotation of grip styles, sometimes even on the same hole. It was based on comfort and situation, akin to what Phil Mickelson has done with the conventional grip, claw grip and other variations he has used as he feels is appropriate.