Xander Schauffele locked in a dilemma: He'd ban the putter he's turned to

The Californian opened the Memorial Tournament with a 68 to sit tied third on the leaderboard at the end of a disrupted day.

You'd think that coming into this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village that Xander Schauffele would have no need to improve his putting.

He ranks ninth in the 2020/21 season's Strokes Gained Putting category, all set to land career-best position on the table.

He also ranked eighth for Putting Average at the Masters and fourth in the Wells Fargo Championship.

But something was up and his next step, revealed for the first time as he carded a 4-under-par 68 on Thursday, was a bold one: He's turned toward a putter he believes should be banned.

"I've had an armlock putter for less than a week now," he explained. "My putting coach, my whole team honestly, we're very against change and I had to see what the craze was about.

"I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on TOUR, switching putters or the style of putting. But it's a distinct advantage.

"I am for banning the armlock putters, but if everyone else is going to use it and I feel like they have a bigger advantage, I may as well do the same."

Schauffele was clear about the expedient nature of using the club.

"It takes the stress of putting out of the game," he said. "It's so stressful, obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card.

"It's ruined people's careers and it's helped people's careers.

"I think putting is an art in our game and when you can lock it into your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that."

The first round was badly disrupted by poor weather and six players never even made it to the first tee, but Collin Morikawa set the pace with a 66.

Schauffele drained five birdies in his 68 as he seeks to improve on a solid but unspectacular record at the course.

He's now rated a 12/1 shot with William Hill. Let's take a closer look at his opening salvo, his stats and the rest of his post-round chat to see if that's a value price.

Schauffele's putting in round one

The obvious place to start is how he performed on the greens.

He gained 0.718 strokes with his putter, ranking him 30th on a partially completed leaderboard.

Schauffele has abandoned his shorter putter.
Schauffele has abandoned his shorter putter.

His SG Putting history at Muirfield Village is interesting. In the Memorial, on fast greens, he gained 0.989 in two rounds when missing the cut on debut, gained only 0.149 when T14th in 2019, and lost 4.953 when T13th last year. But he gained 5.781 when T14th on the slow greens at last year's Workday Charity Open.

He also had a Putting Average of 1.643 in round one which only had him T43rd in the field, but has him on track for a personal best at Muirfield Village - if he can maintain that pace.

Schauffele at Muirfield Village

He has an odd record at the course.

After that abbreviated debut he's ended eight of 12 laps at the course in the top 20, but has never once been in the top 10.

That record looks set to end, but can he push on?

The 27-year-old must also be getting a little frustrated at his inability to turn excellent golf into wins.

He last lifted a trophy in the first week of 2019 and since then has 10 top three finishes.

Schauffele is a four-time PGA Tour winner.
Schauffele is a four-time PGA Tour winner.

He also managed to be the low scorer at the Tour Championship, but even then couldn't claim the win because of the handicapped leaderboard.

The course was wet on Thursday and that made the greens a little slower. Given his history of playing the Muirfield Village greens poorly when they're fast it might be best to hold fire on backing him at the moment.

Schauffele on why he chose to lock

"It's better, it's easier, it's more consistent. My coach and I work a lot on start lines and making sure the ball's doing what we think it's doing. The fact that it's anchored to your arm, you can flinch in your hands, but you can't flinch your entire left arm."

Is he comfortable with it?

"No, I'm not. But I know how good it can be. You still have to read putts and get the speed down correctly. I'm in a very similar setup compared to my old putter and I know I can putt with a shorter putter, so I figured if I can get an advantage on the greens, you know, and maybe get to first in putting, that would be something special. So I'm giving it a go."

READ MORE: The Memorial Tournament: Morikawa makes merry at Muirfield Village again