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May 06, 2009

A Year Later, Garcia's Using Another New Putter at Sawgrass

Sergio Garcia Players Tuesday Sergio Garcia's biggest win came last year at the Players Championship. Although he led the field that week in driving accuracy and greens in regulation, he kissed his putter after defeating Paul Goydos in a one-hole playoff on the famous 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

Garcia went on to tie for second at the PGA Championship last year and won the European Tour's Castello Masters in Spain and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. In fact, Garcia rose to No. 2 in the world rankings using that putter, a Scotty Cameron Newport.

But this season has been rough for Garcia on the greens. He's still one of the best ballstrikers around—hitting 67% of the greens in regulation—but poor putting has sent his scoring average up 2.56 strokes per round, to 71.68. Garcia ranks 173rd in average number of putts per round (30.17) and 155th in putts per green in regulation (1.812)

"I obviously am not feeling 100 percent with my game at the moment, and it shows," Garcia said in his press conference Tuesday. "I'm just not having a great time on the course."

At the Masters, Garcia arrived wielding a 44-inch TaylorMade Spider belly putter. He tied for 38th that week and was never a factor in the tournament. In fact, he made more news with his derogatory remarks about the course and subsequent retraction.

Garcia, still trying to break out of his putting funk, has now switched to a unique new putter. It is 42 inches long, and the head is from an extended-length TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza.

Sergios-putters-merged The standard-length version of the Corza has slots cut out of the frame (top right), but the extended-length model is solid to add weight (bottom right). TaylorMade reps say that Kia Ma, the company's putter guru, ground the sides to make the shape more pleasing to Garcia's eye.

The grip on the putter also extends farther down the shaft than normal, making it look a little like Angel Cabrera's extended-length i Series 1/2 Craz-E B.

"It's similar in a way, I guess," he said Tuesday. "I saw his last week, and I think it's a little bit different because he grips it pretty much from the top. I grip it pretty much normal and kind of let a little bit of the putter stick out."

Garcia also said, "By the grip being a little longer, it's harder for me to make the top part of the grip move, so I'm working with the clubface instead of that. So that's usually what happens to me when I start putting badly. So I'm just trying to see if I can get some confidence and feel good with something."

While Garcia is hopeful that this putter will provide the spark he's looking for, it's clearly on a short leash.

"Unfortunately I can't predict the future," Garcia said. "So I don't know. At the moment I'm staying with it. We'll see how it goes."

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

Photos - Garcia: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images; Putter: GlobalGolf (top), TaylorMade (bottom)

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