Collin Morikawa claimed a stunning debut victory at the Open Championship, largely down to the use of a new putting technique he introduced at the beginning of the week.
The now two-time major champion is streets ahead of the rest of the field when it comes to iron play. Morikawa ranks first in strokes gained in approach play on the PGA Tour and his week at Royal St Georges was no different.
Where the 24-year-old’s game has shown signs of weakness, is on the greens. Coming into the final major of the year, he ranked 172nd on tour in strokes gained from putting. Come Sunday, he led the field for the week in the same category.
According to the man himself, he added a second putting grip to his game.
Back in February, Morikawa adopted the “saw” putting grip, popularised by former Masters champ Mark O’Meara. The strange-looking grip is intended to keep the putter square.
Since adopting the “saw”, Morikawa persisted with the technique on all of his putts, until Open Championship week.
The Californian admitted in the wake of his T71 finish at the Scottish Open that he struggled with the pace of the greens, and quickly moved to resolve the issue by introducing the conventional putting grip for longer putts.
“I think the saw grip is amazing for me. It's going to continue to be in my bag and as I continue to putt,” explained Morikawa after his second round on Friday.
“But, from outside 25, 30 feet, I just couldn't get that hit. I couldn't get that tempo that you see like a Brandt Snedeker put on his putts. That is something you need out here because the greens slower than what we're used to playing.
“Just switching to conventional, I didn't have to change anything mentally. I just kind of went at it like I normally felt, and kind of matched the speeds. That's something that without my caddie, JJ [Jakovac], I wouldn't have figured out on my own.”
By using a mix of the “saw” grip and the conventional technique, Morikawa uncovered the perfect solution for the Royal St George's greens, allowing him to charge on to Open Championship glory without making a single three-putt all week.
As well as a grip adjustment, Morikawa tinkered with his TaylorMade TP Juno putter. To help his speed, he decided to remove the two 2.5-gram weights in the club and replace them with two 7.5-gram weights, giving him ten more grams of weight in his putter.
It's fair to say, the tinkering most certainly paid off for the new Champion Golfer of the Year.