SAN DIEGO – It was a big weekend, the world over, for the growing movement of leaving the flag in while putting.
With noted flagstick proponent Bryson DeChambeau cruising to victory in Dubai, Adam Scott left the pin in almost exclusively during the Farmers Insurance Open. The Aussie has struggled mightily on the greens since the anchoring ban went into effect in 2016, but the new rules eliminating any penalty for hitting the pin while putting on the green appear to have come at just the right time for the former Masters champ.
Scott poured in putts from all directions at Torrey Pines, finishing the week 14th in strokes gained: putting while requiring just 28 putts in each of his four rounds. That run included four straight one-putt birdies with which he closed the gap against friend and neighbor Justin Rose, as Scott finished the week alone in second place at 19 under.
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Scott also switched his putting grip this week, debuting an arm-lock putter that he used in conjunction with a familiar claw grip. While many Tour pros continue to pull the flag on putts of various lengths, Scott is open about the fact that he views the flag as a psychological aid – and the proof was in the highlight reel this week in San Diego.
“I learned a lot with that style of putting this week, and it was quite a big adjustment,” Scott said. “I made some errors out there with it, but hopefully it’s all looking positive, and I like that. Twenty-eight putts for four straight days is probably the best I’ve ever done.”
Granted, Scott’s time on the greens was not without its hiccups. He suffered through a series of short misses, scenes that were made all the more visually awkward by his decision to leave the pin in. That included a cringe-inducing miss for par on the fifth hole that Shotlink measured at a mere 22 inches.
But he was able to shake off that blunder, making five birdies over his final 10 holes while failing to drop a shot. It means that he’ll be keeping the flagstick in for the foreseeable future, perhaps having found just the salve to heal his recent putting woes.
“Most people I played with asked why I’m leaving the pin in, and I don’t really have any better answer for them. I think we’ve heard all the science from Bryson,” Scott said. “I just feel like it’s easier to aim for the middle of the hole when there’s something sitting in the middle of the hole.”