KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Golf is difficult enough, but try playing it without one of your most trusted clubs.
Throw in the pressure of a major championship, and that’s what Blake Adams is facing this week at The Ocean Course.
Adams played in his first major at the U.S. Open in June, and fought his way into contention through 54 holes. A slow start in Sunday’s final round led to 75 and a tie for 21st.
On the cross-country flight from San Francisco to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship, his Odyssey belly putter was bent. Things haven’t been the same since for Adams, who lives just outside Swainsboro, Ga.
“We tried to tweak it, had a couple of backups made, but I’ve been searching the last few weeks,” Adams said. “I think that’s leaked over into every part of my game. I’ve had to hit it six feet to make a birdie. It’s been putting a little strain (on my game). I haven’t felt like I’ve made any putts.”
Adams did play well in back-to-back weeks at The Greenbrier and John Deere events, but has missed the cut in his past two events.
The putter and driver are two of the most important clubs for a pro. Replacing them can be very difficult, Adams said.
“A 7-iron is a 7-iron for the most part, and wedges are wedges, but the driver and putter are two pretty special clubs,” Adams said. “As fancy as our technology is now, you can get them close but it’s just not the same. That’s why it’s so important to find a backup.”
During a practice round Wednesday, Adams hit it so close on the par-3 fifth hole that he used his wedge to tap in the birdie putt. He won’t be able to do that once the PGA Championship starts today.
Despite his recent struggles, Adams brings confidence thanks to his experience at the U.S. Open.
“I learned a lot about myself. I was in the third to last group and wasn’t nervous a bit,” he said. “Probably a little too amped up. I’ll just work hard and hopefully get back in the same situation this Sunday.”
Adams took last week off and worked on his game at his home practice facility. With Kiawah Island within easy driving distance, he will have a lot of family and friends on hand this week.
“I put my wife in charge of tickets. It’s like Hilton Head, it gets a little chaotic for me,” he said.
Adams is currently 87th in the FedEx Cup standings that determine the PGA Tour playoffs. The four-tournament series culminates in Atlanta with the top 30 at the Tour Championship.
“I’m fine for the first two. Last year I finished eighth or ninth at the second one,” Adams said.
“If I have a good week or two, you never know what will happen.”