surprising results. With the coolness of fall not too far ahead, what can
you do to get ready to enjoy the best days of the year for golf?
majors and the time of year. 1) Set-up routine - getting you through hard
times. 2) The perils of the forward press and the woes of Tiger in 2003.
3) The most important shot in golf - it depends!
next point and keep doing what you are doing. If you have had ups and
downs, then read on.
things in our swings. Sometimes we make a few better swings, but
inevitably things seem to get worse. Finally, often quite strangely as a
kind of cruel joke, we give up on the round, stop making any real effort,
and the ball starts flying long and true again after it is too late.
What's going on?
routine for all your swings, including putting-especially putting-then you
should focus on the routine and forget about the results. This is what
sometimes happens at the end of a bad round by accident when we mentally
throw in the towel. We stop thinking and trying to fix things. We take all
the pressure off ourselves. We go back to the swing we have grooved on the
it works. Focus on going through your normal routine step by step, not
swing gimmicks or results. Think in the present tense just about the
routine, not about past swings or future results, even the result of the
shot you are currently making! This will get you through rough times. And
when things are going well, it will keep the good things going.
the same each time. The consistent tempo throughout all four rounds was
remarkable. He had it going for three rounds at the PGA, but then had 5
bogies in a row on the first five holes of the last round, dropped from -1
to +4, and was out of it. But he stuck with his routine, and at least
stopped the bleeding, playing the rest of the round even par. It is not a
dramatic story of a great comeback and was certainly very disappointing
for him, but it was not the total disaster that seemed to be on the way,
like Vijay Singh's 79.
works in practice, you can get back to it if you simply stick to your
routine and think about nothing but that.
in 2003 (as of this writing). But no majors and a very bad performance at
the PGA fell far short of Tiger standards. Dr. Putt was able to watch all
of the coverage of the early rounds of the PGA on TNT, which was pretty
much the Tiger show. Even though that was not fair to other players who
were playing better, it was interesting because it allowed us to study a
struggling Tiger, a Tiger who played early on Sunday and who played all
four rounds over par.
and the second has to do with all the talk of late about what is wrong
with Tiger. Dr. Putt will save the third observation for the next section
of this newsletter.
forward press with his hands to trigger the backswing. It is not
consistently the same, even for the same length putts. When this press is
small and not noticeable, Tiger seems to be at his best. When it is
biggest, he seems to be putting his worst. The press seems to be opening
up his putter face a bit. Consequently, his misses seem to be more often
to the right.
dangerous thing in putting-even for Tiger. A forward press can undo all
the careful alignment we have worked so hard to create.
head and eyes back from the hole to the point of focus on the green just
behind the ball and saying the word "focus" in his mind. Then the
shoulders start tilting or rocking with the hands doing nothing but going
along for the ride.
give is that he is fighting his swing and seems to have lost confidence in
it. Tiger says that he is having a hard time getting the body to move in
sync with his arms and shoulders. Dr. Putt will not add to the cacophony
of unsolicited advice for Tiger. He is paying a lot of people a lot of
money for that already! Maybe he should just relax, have a little more fun
while playing, and not try to force things to happen on every swing,
adding correction to correction. Oops, guess Dr. Putt did offer advice!
than he struck the ball. Missing fairways, missing greens, uncontrollable
flying wedges, he somehow managed to keep it no worse than 74. Tiger was
the personification of grinding it out. All his stats were far worse than
the field except putting, where he was twelfth. Even that was a little
misleading because he had so many one putts after a chip, or rather a blast
from that wire-like eight inch rough.
important shot in golf. It depends on the course and it depends on the
ultimate goal. (Dr. Putt always tells his students that the universal
answer to most questions is "it depends.")
keys to good scores. Why? Because we miss most fairways (like Tiger did in
the PGA) and most greens (like Tiger did again). Most of us would be very
happy with scores between 72 and 74! For us, preventing disasters results
in a good round. Obviously, Tiger wants more than that for what he would
consider a good round.
keys because missing a few extra fairways are no big deal if the player
has a shot to the green. But when one has a rough of 6 to 8 inches,
missing a fairway almost always costs a stroke. So under those conditions,
hitting fairways is the most important thing, assuming that one putts
reasonably well. To put it another way, players on courses with brutal
roughs are far more likely to lose a stroke by missing the fairway than by
questions - a search feature allows you to look up almost any subject you
missed one. They will also come up using the search feature. They are
linked at the bottom of the "Dear Dr. Putt" Webpage. Or you can go to them
really moving thank-you notes. Many are discovering that knowing where you
are aiming your putts and then being able to actually hit them in that
direction transforms putting into a much more creative and satisfying
experience. As most of you know, the EOB system really does work!