Pros advice

New putting stroke for Phil Mickelson ahead of US Open

Phil Mickelson began his preparations for the US Open when playing in the final round of the St. Jude Classic by taking his left hand off the putter, turning it slightly clockwise and resting the grip between forefinger and thumb; simply put, he used the “claw grip.”

Mickelson will be taking his switched-up style into Pinehurst No.2 where he hopes to overcome a tough field as well as a tough and unforgiving course.

''The greens here are quick, and so I'm actually going to go back to the claw grip this week in an effort to have a little bit lighter grip pressure and create a softer roll, so that I get some of the hit out of it,'' Mickelson said. ''I was running them way by last week, and by taking my bottom hand off the putter, it eliminates some that hit.''

By utilising this grip, the Callaway Golf player can make the ball roll more softly into the hole. And it isn’t the first time “Lefty” has used the claw grip, either.

Mickelson explained he will go back-and-fourth from a conventional grip to the claw, particularly during practice rounds, as the claw creates longer, more fluid strokes. Mickelson used the claw technique two years ago when he contested the British Open and tapped in a par putt before later trying it out again on the teeing ground at the next hole at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

''Ultimately, I'll go back to a regular grip,'' he said. ''But for now, probably the coming weeks, that helps me get the feel and flow back. What I should have done is practice the last few weeks with it and then gone to regular grip this week, but here we are.''

In a career where Mickelson has endured six runner-up finishes, it’s his shorter putts which really need some oiling and this could be the cure for his Grand Slam itch.