Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Scott's long putter has turned his career around.
In 2004, the year he won the Players, he ranked first in the strokes gained putting category.
To show how fickle the game—especially the flat stick—can be, in 2005 he started a steady drop in putting rank: 102nd, 149th and all the way down to 186th in 2010.
While there are all sorts of factors, Scott’s putting probably cost him shots at several more victories, including that elusive major title.
"My putting with the short putter was so hot and cold and before I switched it was more often cold than hot," he admitted at the 2012 Open Championship.
"It was always frustrating to play well and get nothing out of a round. Certainly, making the adjustment (to a long putter he started using in 2011) took a little bit of time, but it was effective once I brought it out on tour. I'm much more consistent and that has a really positive effect on the rest of my game."
He also overcame a knee injury during that time, and, as he became more comfortable with the long putter, his confidence and status rose as well.
"My putting has improved out of sight," he said after shooting an opening round 64 in last year’s Open. "Two years ago I was 180th on the tour and now I'm pretty good. Better than average, I would say. So that's a big difference. A shot or two on average makes a big difference to my scorecard."
Indeed, since March 2011, he’s had 17 top 10 finishes, proving just how much a shot or two off the card can mean.