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Tiger Woods Switches Putters to Combat Slow St. Andrews Greens

Tiger Woods switches putters
Tiger Woods walks a green during practice for the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland. Photographer: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Tiger Woods is switching putters this week at golf’s British Open in an effort to conquer the slower greens at St. Andrews.

Woods will use a Nike putter at the Old Course, adding it to the company’s woods and irons already in his bag. He’s used a Titleist Scotty Cameron putter in winning 13 major titles since 1999.

“It’s one of those things where I’ve struggled on slower greens,” Woods, who won the last two Opens played at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005, said at a news conference there today. “This putter does come off faster with the new groove technology. I haven’t had to make that much of an adjustment because the ball is coming off a little bit quicker.”

Woods said the greens were under 10 today on the Stimpmeter, a device that measures the speed of the surface. He prefers them to be at about 14, similar to those on the U.S. PGA Tour.

The 14-time major winner said he’s spoken many times with caddie Steve Williams about what he can do to combat slower greens.

“I’ve always experimented with other putters throughout the years, but I’ve never put one in play until now,” he said, without saying if the switch was permanent.

Woods signed with Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike Inc. after turning pro in 1996.

The Open starts in two days and ends July 18. Woods said he expects a warm reception from the fans as he makes his first appearance in Britain since admitting marital infidelity. He’s yet to win since returning to golf in April.

“The Scottish fans have always been fantastic with respect to golf and all the players,” he said. “I wouldn’t see anything different than what they’ve been over the years.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch at St. Andrews through the London sports desk at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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