Suzann Pettersen is one of the best female golfers in the world. But that certainly isn't good enough as far as she is concerned. Pettersen is on a quest to unseat Yani Tseng as the Rolex Rankings No. 1 player and become the best female golfer in the world.
With three victories in 2011—not to mention a scintillating Sunday Singles Match Solheim Cup performance that lifted Team Europe to a thrilling two-shot victory over Team USA—Pettersen is well on her way.
While in Asia competing in the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, Pettersen spent some time talking with me about her outstanding 2011 season.
In 17 starts this year, Suzann Pettersen has wins at the Sybase Match Play Championship, the Safeway Classic, the Ladies Irish Open and also the Solheim Cup. She also has nine more top 10 finishes (including a T3 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship) and has earned more than $1.2 million in 2011 thus far. To say this has been a good year for her would be an understatement.
First of all, congrats on the Solheim Cup win for Team Europe, Suzann. Have you come down off that high yet?
SUZANN: Solheim was a fantastic week, David. We had a great team, lots of emotion and obviously a fantastic result for the Europeans. It’s just amazing how much adrenalin pumps through your body during a week like that. I can still feel some of the tension and excitement.
Your match against Michelle Wie on the final day was an instant classic. That was some great golf. But to birdie the last three holes to win a point for Europe was amazing. I mean, that's what it was going to take and you made it happen. Did you feel yourself just get into a zone on those last three holes?
SUZANN: We knew it was going to come down to the last four matches if we were going to have a chance to win the tournament. It was tough with the weather conditions, but we chose to look at it as an advantage for us. The fun part about Solheim is that you don’t just play for yourself, but also for your 11 teammates by your side. It makes you fight until the very end. For my own part, I dug deep and gave it all. I knew it was of great importance to win my match and secure that one point, but it was also critical for Caroline (Hedwall) and Aza (Munoz) to win their points to secure the Cup.
There was so much fire in that match. You and Michelle are a lot alike—so competitive and so emotional.
SUZANN: We both played really well considering the weather conditions. We are good friends, but when I step up on that first tee box, the competitive side takes over. We both wanted to win our point, and Michelle forced me to bring out my absolute best when it really mattered. It was truly an amazing match.
How pleased are you with this year so far? You have three wins—four counting the Solheim Cup, nine Top 10s...
SUZANN: 2011 has been a very solid year. It feels great to have won three times. To win the Solheim was the best experience. It is so special to win together as a team. You accomplish something together and it was an amazing feeling.
You're the No. 2 player in the world, of course. How important is it to you to become the No. 1 player in the world?
SUZANN: I have only one dream—that is to become the best female golfer in the world.
Pettersen attributes some of her 2011 success to a new weapon in her arsenal—the Nike Method Core Drone putter. With more than 25 worldwide wins, including three major championships and counting, the Nike Method technology has become a new face of confidence in putting for those who are using it. The distinctive Method Core Drone is the latest addition.
Let's talk about this new Drone putter of yours, your new best friend, as you mentioned on your Twitter. Three wins with this thing—I'm counting the Solheim Cup as a win. Please tell me what you like about it, why you like it so much.
SUZANN: For me, it’s been a great change. I like the large head and I have a few more lines on it for alignment than the stock Drone putters you will see. For me it’s also about the visual part as well as performance. The confidence I have gained with the putter has led to tangible results on the course.
What made you switch?
SUZANN: I wanted to have a putter in my hand that I felt really confident with, and that’s exactly what the Method Drone has given me.
I can relate to Suzann Pettersen's success. Well, sort of.
I popped the top on a shipment from Nike Golf a few weeks ago. Inside was my very own Nike Method Core Drone.
I've played a handful of rounds with the Drone so far and I think it's an outstanding putter. From the unique "plink" sound it made when I hit my first putt to the overall look and feel, I have a notion this club will be in my bag for a long time.
I'll admit, it took a little getting used to coming from the smaller, lighter Method 002 blade I've been using. But I expected to develop even more confidence with it as I got accustomed to the size and weight—and I have.
Speaking of which, the best thing about this new putter is the weight distribution from the center of the club head through the wing tips. Nike calls it Opti-mass weighting. It makes it easier to keep the club head on the proper path and helps prevent any twisting—which I have struggled with in the past.
Absolutely, mission accomplished. It's high-MOI (Moment of Inertia) in a big, mallet shape.
And it includes Nike's patented Polymetal Groove Technology that exists in all their Method putters, which I also enjoyed with my 002.
The idea here is to generate a faster forward roll at impact. It virtually eliminates backspin, which causes skidding and misdirection. The less backspin, the more “true” the putt will roll. The result? You guessed it—increased accuracy and distance control.
I tried a series of straight three-footers on the practice green before playing with it the first time. I made every one. Back and through. Simple. The club was doing its job.
The last time I played with this club—anything inside five feet was automatic.
On the golf course, my distance control, for the most part, was improved. And I definitely had more confidence standing over the three- to five-foot putts. There is no question about that.
Now, if I could just get the Drone to read putts for me.
The only thing I'm not crazy about with this putter is the bottom of it. It's a mirror. Sure, if one of my contacts pops out of my eye during a round, it's going to come in handy. Otherwise, I would've preferred a dull finish there. But I'm not looking at the bottom of the club when I'm putting, so it really doesn't matter.
I've got more Nike Method Core Drone pictures on my Twitter.
Suzann Pettersen is on fire with the Drone. And I expect plenty of other PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players to follow suit in the near future. The same goes for amateurs, like myself, who just want to knock a few strokes—or more—off their game.
The Nike Golf Method Core Drone will be available in stores November 1 for $203.99. It comes in right- and left-handed models at 33-, 34- and 35-inch lengths. There is also a 41" Belly Putter (right-hand only), which will retail for $227.99.