Friday, September 25, 2009

Tiger's Mystery Putting Lesson with O'Hair

Everybody's talking about the impromptu putting lesson Tiger gave Sean O'Hair Wednesday... just before Sean took the lead in the Tour Championship. Rex Hoggard at the Shag Bag Blog talks about it here. Apparently Tiger was just helping him release the putterhead a bit more (that is, let the toe of the putter swing past the heel as he strikes the ball) and, so I've heard, get a bit more loft on the ball at impact.

If you don't mind me plugging my book for a moment, "releasing" the putter is one of those things that sounds more complicated than it is. If you follow Principle 1 of my Basic Principles of Good Putting, you'll do this automatically, and my book Ruthless Putting shows you how it's done. Some putting styles don't release through impact, but Principle 1 works regardless. Why? Because release is simply a way of describing the putterhead's movement if you swing on an arc. If Tiger is consciously releasing through impact, that might explain why his putting game has been running hot and cold this year; conscious release complicates the stroke and takes way more practice than a simpler putting style would.

As for getting more loft on your putter, that's a simple club adjustment that a good pro shop can do for you. As a general rule, if you play a course with fast greens, you'll probably be happy with about 5-degrees of loft; on slower greens, you'll need a bit more.

You might want to check out Rex's post just out of curiosity. Seems there's less debate over what Tiger told Sean than there is over whether Sean should have repeated it to the press at all!

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