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Phil and change in putting--will it work?


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In "USA Today", there was an article yesterday where Phil discussed the analysis of his putting stroke by Dave Pelz. He said that his stroke was fine, "but my face angle and alignment was off almost a full degree. So I've been spending the offseason, even though I haven't been playing, using devices that train my eyes to line up properly." This shows that even the best can slip into a bad habit. Phil's putting stat of 1.76 per green hit in regulation still put him in 22nd place (compared to 15th and 5th the previous two seasons). So it is not like he became terrible, just not as good as he has been.

The lesson for us is this: have a PGA pro or someone who really knows golf check you out when you start to have problems. Do not try to figure it out for yourself.

Will Phil's practice pay off? We will know as the season continues.
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They showed a pic of him standing over his putt and compared it to a pic of his position from earlier seasons. Now the commentator mentioned, that his forearms where much closer to the knees, almost touching the knees, than it had been ever before - and that this wouldnt be what Pelz is teaching. What happens, if you putt with your arms to close to the knees is, that the toe of the putter is pointing up, which isnt really what you want with a solid stroke. I think Faldo made this comment, but i´m not 100% sure about that.
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They showed a pic of him standing over his putt and compared it to a pic of his position from earlier seasons. Now the commentator mentioned, that his forearms where much closer to the knees, almost touching the knees, than it had been ever before - and that this wouldnt be what Pelz is teaching. What happens, if you putt with your arms to close to the knees is, that the toe of the putter is pointing up, which isnt really what you want with a solid stroke. I think Faldo made this comment, but i´m not 100% sure about that.

Interesting post. It is educational to watch a pro try to "fix his game". We all have to do it from time to time, and sometimes, the changes work and sometimes they do not. I have found that as I have become an old veteran (60 years old now), I do little "fixing" and stick with "what got me here".

Sometimes, I laugh at the groups around the top pros---the 'team" as they call it. In the old days, players like Hogan got the answer themselves---"dig it out of the dirt", as Hogan liked to say. Now, there is the swing coach, the sports psychologist, the short game wizard, the master putter, etc. When Payne Stewart won the US Open in 1999 at Pinehurst #2, do you know who straightened him out besides his caddy? His wife, Tracey. She told him that he was moving his head while putting. Team Stewart was paid a lot of money for their advice. Tracey was paid in love and affection. Sometimes, you can figure it out for yourself or with the help of a spouse or friend. But, it ain't always easy, my friend. Good luck to Phil, as he tries to "get it right".
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I don't know....the footage I saw just looked as if Phil wasn't comfortable out there at all.

His driver was giving him fits (no surprises here) and there was no spectacular wedge work or putting to bail him out.

I would think that is a wild tourney to get your season kickstarted. Seems like a better approach would be to pick up a European event or two and then get it rolling along in the States.

He's had ample opportunity to take the limelight from El Tigre last year and the start of this year....but I haven't a clue if this is even a motivator.

Come on, Phil....get fired up and do this thang.

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I would think that is a wild tourney to get your season kickstarted. Seems like a better approach would be to pick up a European event or two and then get it rolling along in the States.

Why do you think he would be more comfortable or play better on the European Tour?

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They showed a pic of him standing over his putt and compared it to a pic of his position from earlier seasons. Now the commentator mentioned, that his forearms where much closer to the knees, almost touching the knees, than it had been ever before - and that this wouldnt be what Pelz is teaching. What happens, if you putt with your arms to close to the knees is, that the toe of the putter is pointing up, which isnt really what you want with a solid stroke. I think Faldo made this comment, but i´m not 100% sure about that.

Nobilo was the one who focused on it the most, including the side by side comparisons. Chamblee also got involved in the emphasis.

Old news. The toe has been off the ground for years. I've mentioned it to my dad repeatedly while watching Mickelson on TV. I've never understood how Phil could WANT it that way but it's so blatant that any instructor could identify it within 3 seconds. It looked absurd when I followed Mickelson at Doral last year. In the second round he literally missed an 18 inch putt. Diminished margin for error. That's what it equates to. Imagine a soccer style placekicker approaching the ball from either too close to the holder, or too far away. In either case, if his initial angle is wrong then he's forced to manipulate his approach to compensate, with significantly increased potential for bad form upon impact, foot tilted improperly. You know those occasionally verbalized rips of Mickelson from Steve Williams? I can almost guarantee Stevie and Tiger behind closed doors have laughed at Mickelson's toe-high putting mechanics. Tiger has such a great putting setup I'm sure he's aware of basic flaws among other top pros.
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Nobilo was the one who focused on it the most, including the side by side comparisons. Chamblee also got involved in the emphasis.

Some great putters did putt with the toe up. For example, Payne Stewart, when he used the Ping Anser (and before he switched to the See More) and Seve Ballesteros. Depending on set up, mechanics, and the type of stroke (straight back or "open gate" like Ben Crenshaw), it can work. The results that Payne, Seve and Ben Crenshaw produced attest to that.
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I was really shocked at Phil's performance this past weekend. I was also shocked by his waistband. Winter weight, I guess?

I'm no one to talk, and not very good of a second guesser, but I sometimes wonder if Phil just doesn't want it as much as we want him to want it. At his level of play, if you're not wanting it, forget it.
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I think pelz has him on the right track to straighten his arc to a more pelz style stroke - straight back and through.

Before PM and DP started working together, the stroke was a big arc.

The lasers and lines on the ground are great tools to help you get a better visual of what a square clubface looks like.
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I did a post about Phil having a history of bouncing back quickly after one or more poor outings. The article in today's "USA Today" substantiates that:

1. In 2008, after he missed his only cut of the year at the AT&T;, he won the folliwng week at the Northern Trust Open.

2. In 2007, after he missed the cut at the FBR, he won the following week at Pebble Beach.
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Why do you think he would be more comfortable or play better on the European Tour?

I think the competition is there, no doubt about it. Fierce competition, at that. I think that's what he needs. Strong competition on perhaps unfamiliar tracks....limited personal history out there....just one shot at a time.

I also think the focus would be mainly on the golf...not the other distractions. I feel a three to five week stint out there would put him in a place where he's "cut-off" from his swing coaches, gurus, shrinks, trainers, advisors, whatever. He and Bones could self diagnose and work things out. Travel together....play some good golf....work it out together. Leave the other support cast behind. Find his game and then play it. Bring it back home to the States and take care of business. I think he needs to simplify. Drive the ball in play....find the green....and make putts. Simple theory.
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I was really shocked at Phil's performance this past weekend. I was also shocked by his waistband. Winter weight, I guess?

Excellent point.

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I think Phil is getting too technical. When he was younger he was a pretty good feel player getting up and down from everywhere. Now he seems to not get up and down. Missing putts from 6 feet like they were 16 feet.

In my opinion he needs to not think and just go play.

I said that on his website.
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I think Phil is getting too technical. When he was younger he was a pretty good feel player getting up and down from everywhere. Now he seems to not get up and down. Missing putts from 6 feet like they were 16 feet.

You are right. "Feel" putters (eg. Sam Snead, Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Loren Roberts, etc.) go on forever. Technical putters (eg. Ben Hogan, Berhnard Langer--who has amazed me how many times he has gotten over the yips, Tom Kite, etc) run into problems as they try to think their way through the stroke and they lose the "flow".

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