Sunday, May 17
ANYONE WHO HAS PLAYED much golf knows that scoring happens around and on the green. He or she who makes the most putts is usually the one who wins on tour week in and week out.
I write about this game much more than I play, but yesterday I had the good fortune to play in a captain’s choice tournament, or scramble. I hit some nice tee shots, a few solid irons and even reached a par-5 in two with a 3-wood, probably my best tee-to-green shot of the day.
But it was the two long putts I holed that gave me the most satisfaction. One was a downhill putt of at least 30 feet. The other was a 20-foot left-to-right breaker from the apron.
I thought of something Tiger Woods said after he sunk that incredible tying putt on the 72nd hole of last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. When Tiger was asked how he did it, I remember him saying he picked out his line and tried to put his best stroke on the ball. That was pretty much it.
Commit to your line. Stroke it well. Simple.
We all know that Tiger believes he can sink those putts in the most pressure-packed moments, but even he can’t control spike marks, changing light, grain and other variables. In the end, all Tiger can do is trust his line and his stroke. Keyword: trust.
The result? Tiger hits a lot of very solid putts that roll true and find the cup.
Back to my round yesterday. One of the players on our team was a 15-year-old boy who had the raw power to hit 300-plus yard drives (in any direction). He will soon be playing on the high school golf team.
I suggested to the boy’s 66-year-old gramps, also in our group, to tell the boy to work his butt off at his short game because that’s what makes the difference in this game at every level. It’s not nearly as glamorous as monster drives, but it’s the key to scoring and trophies. It’s what makes Tiger Woods so great.
−The Armchair Golfer