Many of us will have picked up bunch of putting tips watching the Ryder Cup this week. Some would be obvious to established golfers but also useful reminders of the basics. Other will have been eye-openers to all of us.
In my opinion, Nick Faldo breathed a breath of fresh air into the coverage with his insightful observations on players' techniques. He may not be everyone's cup of tea as a TV pundit, an odd mix of arrogance and a childish sense of humour but he's a six-time major champion, Ryder Cup record holder and Europe's next captain at Valhalla in 2008.
Some tips I took on to the course yesterday morning (with some outstanding results I'm delighted to say) followed his revelations about ‘visualising the line of a putt through the hole.'
1. Remember folks, when the greens are wet the ball takes less break. Allow for that and strike it firmly.
2. If something breaks your concentration during your pre-shot putting routine. Start again, routine is vital.
3. Watch Olazabal putt – low and slow in the backswing,
4. Jim Furyk has been putting with left hand below right throughout his career. It helps to square his shoulders when lining up his putts.
5. In fourball, if you're nearer than your partner and within a few feet take the pressure off by holing out first. It's a tactic which has often paid off hansomely for the Europeans.
6. Take the pressure off putting by making sure you always copy your practice swing in your actual stroke.
Commentating on the Saturday morning fourballs, he observed a putt which rattled into the back of the hole on the wet greens at the K Club.
It's a tip I learned from Dave McNealy, when the Irish caddie worked for me (McNealy also caddied for Padraig Harrington for many years and is now on the bag of Swede Niclas Fasth). Pick your line and see it straight through the hole to about 15 inches the other side. We called it ‘breaking hearts.'
Faldo also spotted that US player Zac Johnson, kept his hands behind the titleist scotty cameron california sonoma putter head at address – a move that certainly worked and prevented him from de-lofting the club which can cause the ball to bounce on impact.
He agreed with fellow commentator and former Ryder Cup partner Peter Oosterhuis, that it was proving successful for Johnson on the damp greens, but on faster surface it can lead to the right hand taking over the stroke getting out of control.