Interesting news just in from Ping. There was much speculation about the exact origins of the putter used by Lee Westwood over the weekend on his way to winning the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia.
Well, the speculation is over. It is in fact the PING prototype putter designed and built with major input from Mark Calcavecchia. Westwood was the beneficiary of a bad bout of putting that Calc had nearly two months ago.
The prototype is a fully machined aluminum mallet design with an Anser hosel that Calc used in the first round of the Pod’s Championship in March. Even though he eventually won the tournament, it had more to do with the prototype putter leaving his bag. In fact Calc took 36 swats with the proto putter during the first round and then shelved it. In its place he bagged the infamous store-bought Redwood Anser (thanks Edwin Watts) that he rode to a hot putting streak and another PGA Tour win.
As for the proto putter, it’s fate was lost until last Friday when it showed up in the hands of Westwood at the Aloha Golf Club in Andalucia, Spain.
After Calc won at the Pods he had returned the prototype putter to the PING Tour Trailer where it sat for two weeks. The story came full circle at the Shell Houston Open where Westwood was in search of a new wand. In working with PING Tour Rep., Matt Rollins, Westwood discovered the Calcavecchia rejected flat stick and took it to test along with a few other PING putters.
Westwood experimented with the unique putter at The Masters and took it along to Spain. He played the first round in Andalucia with a PING li’l C mid-length putter but a frustrating opening round of 72 send him in search of replacement.
In came the prototype for round two and the stage was set. The 15-year pro posted eight birdies that day on his way to a 64. He followed it up with a 65 in round three that included seven birdies and an eagle, vaulting him into the lead.
Westwood topped it all off with a 67 that included eight more birdies on his way to a two-shot victory.
As they say, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. I imagine a thank-you note from Westwood to Calc may be forthcoming.