MARANA, ARIZONA | Putting is so simple
and so tortuous. The easiest stoke in golf.
The most agonizing stroke in golf.
Johnny Miller took to putting his last
few years on Tour with his eyes closed.
Ben Hogan, as he aged, despised the very
concept, wishing all a golfer had to do was
hit to a place on the green, because wherever the place was Ben could get there. He
just couldn’t get the ball into the cup.
The man with the putting woes these
days is Tiger Woods, who not so very long
ago unquestionably was the finest putter on the planet earth, and maybe every
other location in the universe.
“The greatest pressure putter I’d ever
seen since Jack Nicklaus,” was the legiti-
mate observation to ESPN radio by Butch
Harmon, once Woods’ instructor. “There
was no doubt about that. He made every
one he had to make every single time. And
he just doesn’t do it anymore.”
He didn’t do it a couple of weeks ago in
the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach
Pro-Am. Or he might have won. He didn’t
do it at the WGC-Accenture Match Play
Championship. Or he might have won.
At least he would have made it past the
Woods thinks it’s mechanical, listing
his troubles as bringing the putter back
shut and blocking the ball right. Hey, the
final hole in the loss to Nick Watney, Tiger
had a five-footer and didn’t hit the cup. “I
should be able to fix it in about a day,” was
Then why didn’t he fix it in the days
preceding the Accenture? Or before the fi-
nal round of the AT&T? Maybe, as Harmon
said, it isn’t mechanics, it’s nerves. Maybe
it’s not as easily fixable as Woods thinks.