So the big story surrounding Tiger Woods' on-course actions prior to the start of the British Open is the fact that he's parted ways with a longtime pal — his Scotty Cameron putter. This is, quite frankly, a much bigger deal than the casual fan might expect, and could have significant ramifications for Woods this weekend and beyond.
The Scotty Cameron Newport 2 has been with Tiger for 12 years of insane triumph, 12 years of unbelievable success. Nike has apparently tried for years to sell Tiger on a similar model. Heck, Cameron himself has tried to catch lightning in a bottle with similar models. But tournament after tournament, year after year, Woods stuck with the same old trusty pal. It's like a familiar baseball cap or a beloved old car — you know there may be newer or better models out there, but you stay with the familiar. As Steve Elling noted over at CBS, Tiger once called his Scotty Cameron putter "invaluable, irreplaceable. You can't put a dollar value on it."
[Photos: See Tiger Woods at the British Open]
Perhaps not, but you apparently can take a little bit of a time-out, at least. As Waggle room notes, the Nike Method 001 "has a polymer-infused face whose major design goal is to get the ball rolling with topspin faster after impact. The polymer leaves the face with sections of metal that 'grab' the ball and get it going more quickly to the target."
That's an awful lot of alteration to a part of Woods' game that's already in precarious, critical shape. How many times at the U.S. Open did we see Woods roll a putt just wide, exhale through his teeth, and stare at the heavens? This is a serious tightrope act, an all-in move that feels just a wee bit desperate.
Now, consider the other side. Woods may just be doing this to compensate for St. Andrews' slow greens, but what if he plays incredibly well? What if he actually wins? Could that send the Scotty Cameron to the proverbial dustbin of golf history? You know how it is — once you stray, it gets easier to ... you know what? We probably ought to cut this metaphor off right here.
Anyway, is it crazy? Brilliant? Both? We'll find out starting Thursday, but one thing's for certain: Of all the relationships that Tiger's had over all the years, I can pretty much guarantee that at least the putter wasn't doing any covering up for him. And this is the thanks it gets.