Ernie Els Searching for Putter and Magic at Liberty National
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- In 2004, Ernie Els contended at all four majors, but didn't win any. That season the Big Easy ranked ninth on the PGA Tour in putting average, needing only 1.74 putts per green hit in regulation. This year, he's tied for 153rd in that category, averaging 1.801.
So it was no surprise that I saw him spend an hour on the speed practice green at Liberty National Wednesday in preparation for Thursday's start of the Barclays. With the help of his caddie, Ricky Roberts, as well as an assist using a video camera, Els hit putt after putt with an Odyssey putter made especially to his specifications and preferences (below). The stainless steel design is shaped like a classic heel-toe weighted Anser.
However, halfway through his practice session, Els started putting with a custom finished Odyssey White Hot XG #5 (below). Els has used this putter on several occasions this season, including at the PGA Championship two weeks ago.
Els did not appear happy with his putting Wednesday afternoon, so it will be interesting to see which putter goes in the bag Thursday. The greens at Liberty National have plenty of contours and are running fast, so regardless of which putter he uses, Els will need to find his 2004 magic is he's going to contend.