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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vijay Rolls a Few In

Today I wanted to post a little footage of Vijay practicing a couple of weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he posted a tidy little T3 finish. Vijay's putting woes are almost as legendary as Bernhard Langer's. I found this video clip very informative:

Of course, we all know about his odd new stroke... and I'm not advising you to copy it. But there are a couple of tips you can glean from this practice session.

One, notice that Vijay is using a variation of the "putt between two tees" routine. Vijay actually has the tee closest to him placed a few inches ahead of the outer tee. I suppose this new stroke has a tendency to go too much to the inside, so he's set up a practice "station" that lets him know if he starts making that mistake.

That's your first tip: Set up your practice sessions so they work on your problems. Someone once defined insanity as doing the same old thing over and over... and expecting something to change. If you want to get better, you have to work on your problems, not your strengths.

The other thing is simply to look at how relaxed Vijay is. That's one odd-looking stroke -- a mix of the technique most players use with a long putter and the crosshand technique others use with a standard putter, combined for use with a belly putter. Nevertheless, Vijay looks very relaxed and his stroke is very rhythmic. Doesn't he look like he just walks up and hits it? That's the feeling you want in your stroke -- you just walk up and hit it as if you didn't have to set up at all.

So here are two things you can learn from Vijay's new putting stroke and how he practices it:
  1. If you're going to practice, work on your problems. Don't just hit balls.
  2. Work on rhythm and relaxation when you putt.
Vijay only took 105 putts in 4 rounds last week. I don't care for the look of his new putting stroke... but I sure hope he stays with it!


  1. After I shot this video, I wished I had been about 5 feet to the left. It would have been a better angle to see how the tees are staggered. He is so silky smooth. At one point, he holed 23 out of 25.

    I think Vijay always looks relaxed. Even when he hits a bad shot or putt, he may be disappointed, but you never see him lose his cool. This is something I was working on yesterday. Just staying relaxed and not caring if I made the putt. It definitely takes a little pressure off.

  2. Shows how tired I was last night, Dex -- I didn't even recognize that you shot the video! Otherwise I would have credited you.

    It's still a good video. It shows what Vij is doing clearly enough that anybody could duplicate it. That's all you can ask when you have to film from the crowd. You're getting good with that video camera of yours!

  3. Nice work Dex !

    It's not an odd looking stroke - just another one of Vijay's odd grips. It's bizarre that a guy who works on the same drills day in and day out for 20 years has to constantly change his putting grip. What's really odd is that almost every time he makes one of his changes (grip or putter) he makes a really nice shoulder stroke and putts run better for a month or two - then he has to find something new so he can get his shoulder rock back in place.