Different Strokes: Thank your dentist for better putting

Tributes paid to El Gato; Carlos Ortiz is not impressed with hole-in-one celebrations

Maverick McNealy, the former world amateur number one and currently 76th in the official world rankings, has been putting his brain power to good use in his search for a breakthrough win on the PGA Tour.

The 26-year-old Californian - who has a degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University - has set in motion the development of a training aid to improve his putting by incorporating how dentists make dental impressions of their patients’ teeth.

In McNealy’s case, he was able to approach his uncle - a dentist - about how to go about making a mould of his putting grip that could be attached to his putter. “I was wanting a way to grip my putter consistently like a grip trainer,” explained the player, who has used a rough impression in recent weeks and who has handed his idea over Odyssey for a more professional version using 3D scanning.

El Gato

He was known as El Gato - The Cat - and Eduardo Romero’s impact on golf was a global one, claiming no fewer than 75 professional victories, including eight on the European Tour and then claiming the US Senior Open when moving on to the Champions Tour.


Yet, he wasn’t just about golf: on retiring, he went back to his roots and had served for six years as mayor of Villa Allende until his death on Sunday, at the age of 67, from cancer.

Romero’s wins on the European Tour included successes in the Scottish, Italian, Spanish and French Opens and his death brought tributes from many who had played alongside him and enjoyed his company.

“What a man! Such a warm character! With a kind heart! Inspirational! Generous! . . .and always smiling! #Legend We’ll all miss ‘the cat’” - wrote former tour player turned broadcaster Ken Brown, while Thomas Bjorn called the Argentine “a great friend that always was a pleasure to be around. He had a big game but more importantly en even bigger heart. RIP, dear El Gato.”

Word of Mouth

"They were throwing things at me, so I threw something back to them" - Carlos Ortiz on throwing his ball into the crowds packed around the 16th green after his hole-in-one in Sunday's final round of the Phoenix Open. The Mexican had been hit by a beer can on his back as he walked off the tee following his ace. The so-called "beer showers" - the practice of throwing beer cans towards the green if a player holed out from off the green - caused a number of disruptions as greenstaff and tournament officials were required to clear up the littering.

By the Numbers: 89

That’s the number (so far) of players who have qualified for the Masters tournament, the first of the men’s Majors, at Augusta National in April: Tiger Woods and Ian Woosnam are among the 89, with a question mark over Wood’s participation, while Woosie has stated he won’t be playing. There are seven further PGA Tour events up to the Valero Texas Open that give an opportunity for players not exempt to earn an invite by winning, while the top-50 in the world rankings on March 28th also get in, so expect the number to increase. Scottie Scheffler, the winner in Phoenix, was already exempt.

On this day: 15th February 1987

George Burns III earned his fourth (and last) PGA Tour success when he shot a final round 65 for a tournament record low total of 22-under-par 266 in the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Willaim Open at Torrey Pines.

For his troubles, he earned a payday of $90,000 (some $13,000 more than he’d managed in all of the previous season) and also got the bonus of a US Treasury coupon for each of his daily low rounds ($40,000 in all, which matured at $200,000 when he got to cash them in 20 years later).

Burns, a 6-feet 2-inch New Yorker known for his dry sense of humour, was asked if he understood the complexities of the coupons, quipped: “Yeah, it means my kids will be going to college.”

He finished four strokes clear of JC Snead and Bobby Wadkins in what would have been a three-way tie for runners-up but for the disqualification of Craig Stadler. The golfer known as the Walrus had knelt on a towel in playing a shot from under a tree limb, a violation which was picked up by viewers watching on television.

Twitter Twaddle

"I'm gonna start leaning up right now for next year if this is the new deal…." - Graeme McDowell on kick-starting his slimming programme on watching Hary Higgs and Joel Dahmen shirtless on the 16th green at TPC Scottsdale.

"Wow! What a great end to my 4 week trip @DPWorldTour @AlHamraGolfClub. So please with how I played and hung in there all day. Nice to see the hard work pay off. Huge congrats @ryanfoxgolfer and bag man on an impressive weeks golf. Now it's some time off" - Ross Fisher on his runner-up finish to Ryan Fox in the Ras al Khaimah Classic.

"Byron Nelson teared up at lunch with me one day because I had just won more money in 1982 than he had in his whole career. I asked, 'what's wrong?' and he said 'nothing, I feel like I helped you and the tour get to this point money wise'. I wonder what he thinks about now!!!" - former tour player and US Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton giving his response to Charley Hoffman's misplaced rant about the PGA Tour.

Know the Rules


On the first hole of a strokeplay competition, a player uses his distance measuring device before he hits his second shot and then again before his third shot. The device had the ability to make an adjustment for slope and this was turned on. What is the ruling?


A player may get information on distance or direction from a distance measuring device, however such a device must not be used to measure elevation changes. As the player used the device on two separate occasions he would be disqualified (Rule 4.3).

In the Bag: Scottie Scheffler, WM Phoenix Open

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (8 degrees)

3-wood: Nike VR Pro (13.5 degrees)

Utility: Srixon Z U85 (3)

Irons: Srixon ZXZ7 (4 iron), TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1