Matt Bettencourt, a 34-year-old rookie who had never played a PGA Tour event until this year, made a name for himself at Muirfield Village this week on the PGA Tour.
"You dream about it," said Bettencourt, who shot a round of 68 on Saturday to take his first ever lead of a PGA Tour event. "You know, dreams do come true. You just have to stay persistent, believe in yourself and your abilities. The mind's a powerful thing."
With a ton of TV time from leading the Memorial Tournament going into the last round, Bettencourt also helped Tiger Shark Golf's SuperStroke putter grip become one of the most talked about products of the weekend.
"Look at the size of that grip!" said CBS commentator Jim Nantz, in reaction to Bettencourt's new all-white grip that measures 1.67 inches in diameter, over three times larger than a standard putter grip. Another CBS announcer and 6-time major winner, who himself has put a SuperStroke grip into play on the PGA Tour, referred to the grip on-air as the "The KJ Grip." Longtime SuperStroke user KJ Choi has won three times on the PGA Tour with a similar grip.
The all-white prototype 85-gram slip-on grip was given to Bettencourt for testing at the Byron Nelson after his clubs were stolen from the trunk of his car at the event.
"We made Matt a special all-white tour version of our new prototype slip-on grip because we really wanted it to stand out on TV," said Tiger Shark President Dean Dingman. "It's the only one of its kind right now. We made it all white to see if it would be more visible, and we sure got our answer to that question this weekend!"
Bettencourt ended up finishing T5th at the Memorial, the best finish of his career on the PGA Tour. He ranked 8th in Putts Per GIR and 14th in Putts Per Round en route to earning $219,000. Fellow SuperStroke staff player KJ Choi finished T15 and was T19th in Putts Per Round with his SuperStroke Proline grip. With three oversized putter grips in play at the event, Tiger Shark was the #1 most played jumbo putter grip company at the Memorial. Tiger Shark's other jumbo grip, a mid oversized grip called the UltaTac, was a winner two weeks ago at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The 34-year-old Bettencourt turned pro in 2002 and bounced between the Nationwide Tour, Canadian Tour and Tarheel Tour searching for a breakthrough in his game. He found his answer when he started using a SuperStroke grip last season on the Nationwide Tour. He was ranked 90th on the money list when he made the switch and went on to finish the year with two victories and 3 Top 10 finishes. His victory at the Nationwide Tour Championship propelled him to end the year #1 on the final official money list.
"I went from around 150 to the top 50 in putting," said Bettencourt. "It's made all the difference in the world for me. It's taken my hands out of it. I got really back and forth with the belly putter. But with this SuperStroke Grip, it's been fantastic. It really changed my game."
"I basically set a two year goal that, if it didn't happen, then it probably wasn't meant to be, but I was going to battle my best," he said. "Last year finishing number one on the (Nationwide Tour) money list was a great thing and a great honor."
More About SuperStroke
The large surface area of SuperStroke brings more of the grip into contact with the hands, inhibiting breakdown of the wrists. Scientific tests have shown that the SuperStroke requires up to 32% less grip tension and represents a significant improvement over conventional putter grips. The Super Stroke's size encourages use of a "soft hands" technique and ensures a smooth and fluid putting stroke.
The 85-gram slip-on version that Bettencourt was wielding during the Memorial will be available later this summer. To learn more about SuperStroke or to order a grip directly, please visit www.superstrokegrip.com
More About Tiger Shark Golf
With the acquisition of SuperStroke grips in January of 2009, Tiger Shark became the predominant oversized putter grip company in golf. In addition to selling over a million of their original UltraTac oversized putter grips, Tiger Shark now owns the winningest jumbo putter grip on the PGA Tour. Over 40 professional golfers from the PGA Tours have put one of their jumbo putter grips in play.
Tiger Shark offers a variety of golf equipment with a specialty in drivers, women's clubs, wedges, hybrids and package sets. Tiger Shark has more than 1,500 accounts across the U.S. including Golf Galaxy, Edwin Watts, Golfsmith, Roger Dunn, Pro Golf, Nevada Bobs, PGA Tour Superstores, Golf Headquarters and Golfers Warehouse. For more information about Tiger Shark Golf, visit www.tigersharkgolf or call 800-667-0181.