The New #1 on Tour
In May of 2016, Jason Day won THE PLAYERS Championship with a new Spider putter that had everyone on Tour seeing red. Less than 9 months later, Spider putters have grown to become the hottest flat sticks on Tour with more and more players adding the model into their bags each week. At last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Spider reached a significant milestone as the #1 putter model in play on the PGA TOUR.
To get the full story on why Spider putters are in such high demand, we sat down for a chat with TaylorMade PGA TOUR rep, Shawn Mullin.
Q: How do you explain the rapid adoption of Spider putters this year on Tour?
“The Spider has done unbelievably great, really. Jason Day started it off, then K.J. played it, Rahm played it, Laird played it, Billy Hurley played it, Henrik Norlander played it... I mean the list is pretty big and it keeps getting bigger each week. And this has been mainly the red Spider, but a few guys prefer the black version instead, which is what Dustin Johnson has been playing with.
Spider putters have high MOI to ensure that the face stays square to the path, which is what a lot of players prefer. It also helps when you have the #1 putter in the world using it, then Dustin Johnson wins with it, then Jon Rahm wins with it... guys out here on the PGA TOUR react the exact same as the public—they see other guys using Spider and playing well with it, so they want to try it for themselves. That's what is happening out on Tour right now with the success of Spider.”
Q: How frequent have the build requests been lately?
“Last week, we had about 15 build request for new Spider putters, and I had to order 12 more for this week. And I'm anticipating having to order 12 more for next week.”
Q: Do you see this as a continuing trend for the rest of the season?
“You can go back 5 or 6 years ago and the split of blade putters to mallet putters was probably 65/35 in favor of blades. Over the last few years, that trend has been reversed. Guys out here are starting to choose technology over classic aesthetics.
It has to do with the Tour getting younger and younger. Years ago, the guys grew up with their idols playing classic blade putters. Now, the guys coming into the Tour have been watching Jason Day win with the Spider, for example, so they are already coming in playing mallet-style putters.
In the last 4-5 months, we have also seen a big jump in Spiders on the AJGA level—really since DJ's win at Bethpage. And then when Jon Rahm made that incredible eagle putt with his Spider Tour Red on 18 at Torrey Pines, we immediately got hit with emails from LPGA players and Champions Tour guys wanting to get their hands on that putter.”
Q: Before his win at Torrey, Rahm wasn’t playing a Spider. What made him finally make the switch?
“Before this year, Rahm had been playing with a two-ball Odyssey putter. But once he saw the success that Jason Day had with it and saw what Dustin Johnson was doing with it, he wanted to try it. Once he had the Spider in his hands, it was an easy switch because it is legitimately a great putter. And that was immediately validated after he went out and won his first PGA TOUR event with it.”
Q: How does Rahm’s Spider putter differ from the version made famous by Jason Day?
“Rahm's putter is 37.25 inches, whereas Jason's is 35 inches. Jason has the 80/20 insert; Rahm has the Surlyn insert, which has even softer feel. He has the same hosel and shaft as Jason, but he prefers the Super Stroke grip over Jason's Winn grip. Jason's swing weight is E1; Rahm's is G0—and that's just all personal preference and feel. The heads work exactly the same way. All the technology is in the head; it just comes down to what you like to see and feel in terms of grip, sightline, and weighting.”
Q: Beyond the high demand on Tour, Spider putters have a ton of momentum in golf shops as well. Why do you think that is?
“The reason for it's recent popularity is simple: Jason Day is using it and he's the best putter in the world, then Dustin Johnson goes out and wins with it, and then Jon Rahm wins his first PGA TOUR event with it.
The putter is incredibly visible when you're watching on TV, and it obviously also helps when guys like Rahm are draining 60-foot eagle putts to win tournaments with it.
Overall, it's just a pretty damn good putter."
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