The best golfers in the world are just like us.
No matter how good they are, how high their world ranking is and how many millions they have in the bank, they’re constantly searching for their game, just like the rest of us with high handicaps and low confidence.
Tiger Woods, one of the two greatest players in the game with his 79 career victories and 14 major championships, has spent the better part of this year playing a shell game of sorts trying to nail down his optimum form.
At the start of the year, Woods couldn’t hit a fairway if it were as wide as the Yankee Stadium outfield, but his short game was terrific. Later, when he honed in his tee shots, his short game failed him.
At the PGA Championship three weeks ago, Woods was back to not being able to hit a fairway, but he was making nearly every putt he looked at and almost won his 15th major before falling just a few shots short.
At this week’s Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, where the fairways are narrow and the rough is unforgiving, Woods figured to struggle, given how poorly he’d been driving the ball. And yet Woods, who has hit 9 of 14 fairways in each of his three rounds, is miles from contention because of the 92 putts he has taken.
Jordan SpiethGetty Images
En route to shooting 64 on Saturday, Jordan Spieth, who has struggled with his putting this year, suddenly found something that had made him one of the best putters in the world just a couple of years ago. He was so fired up about it, after he putted out on No. 6, Spieth took a notepad out and wrote it down so he wouldn’t forget.
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“I really found kind of the setup that I used to putt with,’’ Spieth said. “I’ve been searching for it for a long time. It was always close, and certain rounds over the last couple years it’s come in, and I think kind of recognized why and how today.’’
On Friday, U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka found himself lost with his swing in the middle of his second round before unwittingly finding something to correct it mid-round and, he said, “It just clicked,’’ leading to a 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead.
Then there’s Adam Scott, who’s playing with two putters in his bag right now — a long one and a short one.
“I’ve been working with the short putter for a couple of months now,’’ Scott said. “I put it in to try and hole a few more putts at 15 to 20 feet, which is where I’ve really been poor. And ever since it’s gone in, the stroke has just really gotten so much better with the long one that I haven’t really thought about pulling [the short one] out.
“I haven’t really used it, so it is kind of a waste, but as long as I’m putting well with the long one, I don’t really care.’’
So in essence, the short putter has become a security blanket for Scott.
Isn’t that what all of us mid- to high-handicappers are seeking? A security blanket to provide a little added boost of confidence. We’re all the same — with the exception of the scores we shoot.
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