Written by
Mike McAllister
May 02 2024
- 5 MIN
Koepka putter preview notes Singapore lead image

SINGAPORE – Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka switched putters just before last month’s LIV Golf Miami, opting for a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 mallet instead of the Button Back Newport blade that he’d used for more than a decade.

He finished T45 at both Doral and the following week at the Masters but comes off a T9 finish in Adelaide, his best result since the season-opening T5 in Mayakoba.

Koepka is sticking with the mallet but he’s still not satisfied with the results on the greens.

“I can't find the hole at all, to be honest with you,” he said on the eve of Friday’s first round of LIV Golf Singapore. “Something we've just been putting some work into, so trying to find some answers.”

A year ago, Koepka ranked T17 in putting, but this season he ranks T38. His Strokes Gained average on the greens for the first six tournaments in 2024 is minus 0.37; 46 players have a better average this season.

“I feel like I'm hitting good putts, they just keep burning lips,” Koepka said. “Eventually it starts to wear on you after a while. All you can do is hit a good putt and see where it goes from there. Hopefully they start falling soon.”

Soon would be good considering his next start after Singapore is his PGA Championship title defense at Valhalla. He hopes to bounce back from a disappointing T45 at the Masters.

“With Augusta the way that it went. I kind of felt like I wasted all the time from December until then,” Koepka said. “Just keep grinding away, keep doing the work, and hopefully something will turn around.”

SPEAKING OF PUTTER CHANGES: Fireballs GC Captain Sergio Garcia started the 2024 season using a Golfyr Maker putter. He liked it but eventually realized that it was “a little too big for my view, so we’re working on making a smaller version of it.”

That new finished product will take a few months, so he then fired up his old Scotty Cameron TN3 that he first started using 25 years ago (with some modern-day updates) and put that in his bag in Miami.

It’s a putter he trusts, but there was one problem.

“It’s really soft,” Garcia said. “So if the greens are not superfast, like they were in Miami, I feel like I have to make too much of a hit, too much of an effort just to get the ball in the hole.

“That’s what happened to me in Augusta. The greens weren’t as quick as they usually are because it was windy and stuff. Felt like I had to make sure a big effort, such a big swing that I kind of got a little bit out of rhythm.”

Returning home after his missed cut at the Masters, Garcia was then introduced to a few putters from Never Compromise, a long-ago brand that has been recently relaunched by Dunlop Sports. He opted for the Reserve NC Contrast Model 4s for Adelaide, becoming the first LIV Golf player to put the manufacturer into play. 

“It felt good,” Garcia said. “I was able to get the ball to the hole pretty much all week, which was nice without making a lot of effort.”

He’ll continue to use the Never Compromise putter until his smaller Golfyr putter is ready … “unless the greens get super, super quick and then I might use the Scotty.”

During a practice round at Sentosa Golf Club, the Never Compromise putter evidently served Garcia well.

“We were playing a little Wolf game in practice and he made 300 feet of putts in nine holes,” reported Fireballs teammate Abraham Ancer. “It was ridiculous.”

Given his already impressive track record at Sentosa – he made the playoff last year against eventual Singapore champion Talor Gooch – Garcia could be ready for a big week.

PHIL AND MAN OF STEELE: After HyFlyers GC’s Brendan Steele won LIV Golf Adelaide on Sunday – it was his team’s first trophy of any kind – he was quick to credit how much of an impact his captain Phil Mickelson had on his development.

“He's the reason that I'm here and the reason that I'm improving,” Steele said. “To be honest, I'm 41 years old and I'm getting better, and it's mostly because of him.”

On Thursday, Mickelson returned the compliment.

“It's nice of him to say that, and it goes both ways because I've learned a lot from him driving the golf ball and learned a lot from him in other areas,” he said. “We've just kind of shared things back and forth, and that's what a really good team dynamic brings is it helps lift each other up. I'm appreciative that I've been able to help him, and he's done the same for me. It's been a two-way street.”

THE CRUSHERS’ 2023 FORESHADOW: A year ago in Singapore, Crushers GC shot a final-round counting score of 20 under, with Charles Howell III and Paul Casey shooting 8-under 63s and Anirban Lahiri contributing a 67. It allowed the team to rally for a third-place finish after starting the round tied for ninth.

Captain Bryson DeChambeau’s 1-under 70 was the non-counting score, and it came at a time that he described as “brutal” as far as his golf game was concerned. “I didn't really like golf at that point in time,” he acknowledged. “I was struggling to figure it out and understand what was going on.”

But DeChambeau eventually found his game, thanks to some key equipment switches, and the Crushers went on to take the 2023 Team Championship. 

With two wins this season, they arrive in Singapore leading in team points, with that final round last year foreshadowing their dominance in the final rounds this season, especially now with all four scores counting. 

The Crushers are 57 under in the final rounds, 17 shots lower than the next closest team, Torque GC.

“I feel like I've got three other players that are just super consistent,” DeChambeau explained. “They don't shoot crazy over par. They don't always go super deep, but they're very consistent, and they shoot under par quite a bit.

“I'm kind of the semi-sporadic one. I can go super deep or be not too good. I think that's kind of what having a solid team means is you get some good consistent players and then you've got a couple that can shoot really low.”

NOT AS EASY FOR GOOCH: Smash GC’s Talor Gooch was in the midst of a hot streak a year ago, winning back-to-back tournaments in Adelaide and Singapore en route to the Individual Championship.

“I was just playing great golf last year,” he recalled. “I had ultimate ball control, and it's one of those times in golf where it feels like you're never going to play bad because it's so easy.”

While he’s a respectable 10th in the points this season, he’s yet to win and he comes off a T26 in Adelaide that was his first non-points result in 2024.

On the eve of his Singapore title defense. Gooch is hoping a return this week will jumpstart his season.

“I've said to my caddie now the last couple tournaments, I can't wait for golf to get easy again because it hasn't been easy this year,” he said. “But you fall back on those moments knowing, like hey, I've been here, I've done it, I can do it again. Obviously I like this golf course, and I like Singapore. It's hard for the vibes to not be good this week.”

Related News

Loading data