CARMEL, IND. – Sometimes, even if you’re the U.S. Open champion, you need to look at something different.
That’s essentially what prompted Dustin Johnson to put a new putter in his bag this week – a TaylorMade Spider model like the one Jason Day uses – and it’s one of the reasons why Johnson has a share of the 36-hole lead with Robert Castro at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick.
Johnson shot a 9-under par 63 Friday that included a pair of par-5 eagles but the most eye-catching number through two days is this: Johnson has needed just 48 putts over the first 36 holes. Turns out he made a pretty good decision when he put the new putter in his bag just before the first round here.
“I just felt like I have been putting it pretty well, but I was just struggling to get my putter on the line that I was seeing and so I just grabbed one of these putters and started rolling it,” Johnson said. “It’s a smaller Spider, the same one Jason Day uses. I played with him the last two weeks and saw him make enough putts and I was like, well, I got to try one at least. So I put it in play and been rolling it pretty good.”
Johnson said the biggest difference is seeing the ball come off the putter on his intended line. He hasn’t changed anything else, just the putter.
Given his power on a rain-softened course, Johnson looms large as the weekend arrives with more thunderstorms forecast for Saturday. He could go a long way toward locking down player of the year honors if he closes out his third win of the season this weekend.
“I believe the guy that wins is putting it well. Putting it the best,” Johnson said. “You don’t stripe it every single day, so if you’re rolling the putter for four days or I feel like if I putt well for four days, I win, usually.”
Castro is trying to secure a spot in the 30-man Tour Championship field next week and is chasing his first PGA Tour victory. Asked if he would be nervous if he were in Castro’s position, trying to win for the first time against a player of his caliber, Johnson didn’t hestitate.
“Yeah,” he said. “I would be for sure.”