Justin Thomas isn’t the only pro in Hawaii relishing in a reunion with a Scotty Cameron putter from his youth.
Parker McLachlin, a former Tour winner who now spends most of his time as a short-game coach, also reconvened this week with a Scotty Cameron, his once-trusty Corondo blade that had been missing for a quarter century.
“I just stopped using it my senior year in college,” McLachlin, who is in the field this week at the Sony Open on a sponsor’s exemption, told GOLF.com. “I somehow lose track of the putter and I can’t find it.”
McLachlin, who is now 43, said he hadn’t given the putter much thought until about four or five years ago when he tried to find his old faithful. When McLachlin came up empty, a former college teammate bought him a similar model on eBay — but you know what they say, the sequel is rarely as good as the original.
Which brings us to this week in Honolulu.
But before we get to the unlikely reunion, we first must explain the back story of how McLachlin first landed the putter.
McLachlin grew up in Hawaii. When he was a high school junior, he was warming up on the practice green before an event when he was approached by Hawaii’s Titleist rep, “Uncle” Les Tamashiro.
Tamashiro, who was known for looking out for junior players and helping them with equipment needs, thought it was time McLachlin made a switch putter.
“He comes over and he’s watching me putt and I don’t even remember what putter I was putting up at the time,” McLachlin recalled. “But he said, ‘Hey, why aren’t you using a Scotty Cameron?’
“I was like, ‘Well, you know, my parents are both schoolteachers and I can’t afford it.’
“He says, ‘I’ll tell you what, this high school state championship is next month. If you go and finish in the top five, my gift to you, I’ll give you a Scotty Cameron putter.”
But McLachlin didn’t want any charity. He wanted to rightfully earn the putter, which he guessed retailed for at least $200 at the time.
So he bargained against himself and told Tamashiro he would take a putter only if he won the Hawaii State Championship.
‘He said, ‘All right, you got a deal!’” McLachlin said. “And so I go out a month later and I win the state championship.”
The title didn’t come easily. McLachlin said he opened with a 74, before going deep on the second day with a 66 in 40 mph winds.
“I think the next the next best score of the day was like 74 or 75,” McLachlin said. “And so when I win the tournament, he gives me the choice of whichever putter I wanted, and I chose the Scotty Cameron Coronado.”
The putter stayed in his bag through the rest of high school and up until his senior year of college. Then, McLachlin said, it pretty much vanished.
McLachlin was still looking for the putter when he came back home to Hawaii for this week’s Sony Open.
“I see Uncle Les at the golf course on Monday and he says, ‘Hey, what are you putting [with] these days? You still have that Coronado I gave you almost 30 years ago?’” McLachlin said. “And I was like, ‘No, I can’t find the Coronado. I don’t know where it is.’”
That got Tamashiro thinking.
“You know, it’s weird,” Tamashiro said. “I think I’ve got a Coronado in my garage, but I don’t know where it came from. Let me check tonight.”
Sure enough, the putter was McLachlin’s original Coronado, easily identified by its slightly shortened shaft and lead tape on the bottom. Tamashiro guessed it might have been in his garage for 15 years.
“Being a Titleist rep for years and years I’m sure he just had collected putters,” McLachlin said. “He didn’t know why it was there.”
On Tuesday, Tamashiro brought the putter to McLachlin at Waialae, and the pair recounted the whole story with Scotty Cameron himself, who is in Hawaii this week for the event.
“[Cameron] thought it was a really cool story,” McLachlin said. “And I think hearing how people have gotten their first Scotty Camerons and stories behind that, I think was really neat for him to hear.”
McLachlin has no plans to use this putter this week — he has another in his bag that will do the honors — but said he enjoyed sharing the full-circle moment with Cameron himself.
“Les giving me this putter was sort of my first start into the Titleist family,” McLachlin said. “And just to see where the whole journey is taking us is pretty cool.”