Friday, April 8, 2016

A letter to Ernie Els.

Dear Mr. Els,
I watched, with the rest of the golf world, your troubles on the putting green on Thursday.  I want you to know I am sympathetic to your issues, but before you jump on the fear of impact, putt with your eyes closed, it is all in your head, rhetoric flying around, please consider another line of thought.
For as long as I have watched you play, I have always thought the source and sequence of your putting stroke started with your right hand. At Oakmont, it was obvious to me (yes I was in the gallery) and from a closer view, at the practice round I watched you play at the Field Club.
So I believe Thursday, on that first putt, you simply tried to hit it with your right hand, like you have done millions of times before, but your left hand got in the way. I would suggest that for as long as you putt left hand low, you might have to remind yourself that your stroke is now left side dominant instead of right.
I have had some success with nervous strokes by identifying the motion sequence and asking the player to repeat it before they try and hit a putt. With a left hand low set up, it might be left shoulder back, left hand past the ball.  The words don't matter as long as they remind your brain what you are trying to do.
I hope you will accept this with the sincerity it is offered, I don't think you have the yips, I think you just forgot how to make your stroke. Huge difference.
With sincere best wishes from a big fan,

P.S. If you want to remember what your old stroke felt like, put your left hand on your right shoulder, let the putter swing inside then release down the line. Trying to take the putter straight back with your right hand is problematic at best.