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Michelle Wie shelves ‘tabletop’ in favor of ‘claw’ putting grip

Wie Googled claw grips of Mickelson and Garcia.

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Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented By Aeromexico and Delta - Round One Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Michelle Wie, who earlier this year traded Nike gear for Phil Mickelson’s sticks of choice, has also adopted Lefty’s trademark putting grip, the claw, after ditching her unconventional tabletop putting method.

After missing the cut in last month’s LPGA Tour’s season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, Wie will no longer bend 90 degrees over the ball. Instead, she will put her new stance and grip into play at this week’s Handa Women’s Australian Open.

“I definitely Googled `The Claw,’” Wie said Wednesday from Royal Adelaide Golf Club where the four-time tour winner will try to shrug off her 13th MC in her last 26 events going back to 2016. “You should see my research. I Googled every one. I liked Phil’s claw, Sergio’s [Garcia] claw.”

Wie parried much criticism after debuting her unusual stance a few years ago. Former tour player and current Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin saw “nothing good” in it until she changed her tune, while Wie’s style drew brickbats from her counterparts on the PGA Tour, as well.

She declined to share the funniest comments made about it, saying it would probably not be “appropriate” to do so, but she was not above poking fun at herself for employing by far the most unorthodox approach to putting any professional golfer has ever tried.

Putting with her body parallel to the ground worked for a while, as Wie improved from 119th in 2012 in putts per GIR to fourth in 2014, the year she won the U.S. Women’s Open while tabletopping. But it was not the first unorthodox method she has put into play in an attempt to boost the weakest part of her game.

In addition to trying belly putters, earlier versions of the claw, and adding the “Nicklaus crouch” to the tabletop, there was what one writer dubbed “Wiegeling."

Now, though, Wie — who made only three birdies and needed 63 putts over 36 holes in the Bahamas, and ranked 120th in putts per green in regulation last year — decided she had to try something new to kick-start her season. Google seemed to offer the motivation she needed to make the switch.

“I tried everything out, and it feels good,” she said.

Wie, who ranked as high as second in the world but has plummeted to No. 182, will put an eagle clamp on a custom Odyssey 2-Ball Fang putter — just one of the new Callaway clubs she now carries.