By Peter Rutherford
INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) – After flip-flopping between broomstick and conventional putters this year, Adam Scott has opted to putt cross-handed with a shorter stick at this week’s Presidents Cup, committing to the change three months before a ban on anchoring comes into effect.
The long and short of it is, however, the Australian is lost without the longer-shafted putter secured firmly to his chest and his woes were laid bare for all to see on the roller-coaster greens of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea on Thursday.
Internationals skipper Nick Price had hoped the pairing of Scott and Hideki Matsuyama would set the tone for the Internationals, sending them out first against Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, a late replacement for the injured Jim Furyk.
But it was Holmes who would lay down the first marker, sinking a 14-footer on the second hole to put the Americans ahead, a lead they would never relinquish.
The International pair wasted virtually every opportunity they had by putting poorly, Scott fluffing from inside 10 feet on 11 and 13. Matsuyama missing makeable putts on 14 and 15.
The U.S. pair wrapped up the match on the 16th when Holmes sank another snaking putt.
“They got off to a good start, birdieing four holes in a row on the front, and we were fighting back,” said Scott.
“But we had our chances to make putts and we didn’t. And that was the difference. Missed three really good chances on the back nine, and then it slips the other way quickly and it’s over. So we had our chance but they played well.”
Scott began using the longer putter four years ago and won the Masters in 2013 with it, but with a ban on anchoring coming into effect in January he began playing with a conventional stick earlier this year.
Scott struggled to get comfortable with it however, and reverted to a longer one weeks later.
With time running out before the ban he has decided to make a permanent switch to a conventional putter now, a move that may benefit Scott in the long run but could dampen the Internationals’ chances this week.
Scott’s putting statistics on the PGA Tour this season made for miserable reading, finishing 141st in total putting.
American Watson said the performance on the greens had been the difference.
“Hit great tee shots, great irons, and then the key was making putts. J.B. made so many putts today,” he added.
“The other team they just missed them.”
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)