Tuesday, February 1

Miguel Angel Jimenez: Putting Without a Putter

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ MISSED a three-footer last week at The Royal Golf Club in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The cigar-chomping veteran momentarily lost his pony-tailed head. He tossed the guilty putter at his golf bag. It broke.

Putter-less, Jimenez faced five more holes with 13 clubs in his bag. Which club did he put into service on those last five greens? The lob wedge. How did he finish? He birdied three out of the last four holes to shoot 65, giving him a share of the second-round lead at the Volvo Golf Champions. He went on to finish second.

That, my friends, is another reason why Jimenez and his tour comrades have their names on their golf bags and I don’t. If Miguel can birdie three of four holes putting with a wedge, I wonder why he even bothers with a putter.

The last time I broke a putter mid-round was a couple of years ago. It was an accident. My 20-year-old Slotline simply gave out, a case of metal fatigue. I was on the 1st hole. I putted with a long iron, but soon decided it was a poor choice. I ended up using my 3 metal. That worked OK. But I made no birdies like “The Mechanic.” And I couldn’t shoot 65 in my dreams.

I didn’t see Jimenez in action without his putter, so I wondered how he did it until I read his quote: “This is not the first time I putt with a lob wedge.”

Jimenez and a stellar European Tour field tee off this week at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. Eight of the world’s top 20 players will be in action, including defending champion Robert Karlsson, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, Steve Stricker, Ian Poulter, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen.

Someone may have to putt without a putter—and could still go low.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Photo credit: Perez, Flickr, Creative Commons license)