Hunter Mahan credited his new PING Nome putter as the sole reason behind his stunning 2&1 victory over Rory McIlroy at the WGC-Matchplay Championship in Tucson, on a weekend which saw three PING staffers reach the semi-finals.
The 29-year-old has used a traditional, heel-toe weighted blade throughout his pro career but while working on the practice green Monday with his sponsors, Mahan discovered his alignment was off with his old putter. A laser attached to the American’s putter revealed that when he thought he was aiming at the hole, he was actually aiming slightly left.
Wielding the PING Nome for the first time in his career, Mahan instantly transformed his putting at Dove Mountain by making 35 birdies in 96 holes and holing 59 putts out of 64 from inside ten feet.
“I felt great with my game coming in,” said Mahan after lifting aloft the Walter Hagen Cup. “I made a putter switch to the Ping Nome putter and felt great on the greens immediately.”
The Nome, a mallet made from aluminum with two tungsten weights added to the bottom-rear section, has a higher moment of inertia than Mahan’s previous putters, and the face-balanced model he selected enhances his fairly straight putting stroke.
“I’m now aiming where I think I’m supposed to be aiming,” said the four-time PGA Tour champion of his putter that won’t be available until later in the season.
“Before I was aiming a little more left than I thought, so I was pushing a lot of my putts. I wasn’t getting a true roll and a true read.”
But while the blade was hot, so was the rest of Mahan’s game that featured exemplary drives with his PING G20 driver and laser-like PING S56 irons.
“I played well from tee to green, putting to chipping to driving, irons, everything was there,” added the newly promoted World No.9.
“I needed everything to win. I’m very proud of how I played. It feels great. It really does.”
PING, who manufactures its clubs in Phoenix, just down the road from the scene of Mahan’s triumph, also took third and fourth on the winners’ rostrum as Mark Wilson edged out Lee Westwood.
Earlier in the day, Angela Stanford got the ball rolling on PING’s Super Sunday after landing the HSBC Women’s Champions on the LPGA Tour at the third extra hole.
Sporting a full bag of PING equipment, the 34-year-old American proved a model of consistency leading wire-to-wire with rounds of 66, 70 and a pair of 71s.
And although 21-year-old rookie John Huh isn’t a contracted PING player, he did at least stride home for his maiden PGA Tour title at the Mayakoba Classic using the PING G10 driver and S57 irons after fending off Robert Allenby at the eighth extra hole.
What’s in the winners’ PING bags
Driver: PING G20 (9.5-degree; Fujikura Speeder 6.2 Tour Spec)
Fairway wood: PING G20 (13-degree; with a UST Mamiya VTS 8X)
Hybrid: PING i15 (17-degree; UST Mamiya VTS 85X)
Irons (3-PW): PING S56 (True Temper Dynamic Gold X100)
Wedges: PING Forged Anser (56, 60-degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100)
Putter: PING Nome
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Footwear: FJ Icon
Glove: FJ StaSof
Apparel: Under Armour
Driver: PING i20 (10.5-degree)
3-wood: PING G20 (15-degree)
7-Wood: PING G15 (21.5-degree)
Hybrid: PING G20 (23-degree)
Irons (5-9): PING i20
Wedges: PING Tour S (47, 52, 56-degree) and TS (60-degree)
Putter: Scottsdale Anser 2
Driver: PING G10 (7.5 degree)
Irons (3-PW): PING S57
Wedges: PING Tour W (52-degree) and Tour S TS Rustique (60-degree)
Putter: Scottsdale Wolverine C