I‘m an Apex Putter
One of the biggest putts of my life was the one I sank at Winged Foot on the 72nd hole of the 1984 U.S. Open. Although I lost that championship in an 18-hole play-off with Fuzzy Zoeller, I will never forget the exhilaration of that putt. It was a downhill, twisting 15 metres, and to this day I’m convinced I made it because I tried to hit the ball, not to the hole, but to a, point along the path to the hole. There was a slight discolouration in the green about a third of the way to the hole, and when my ball rolled over it, I knew I’d hit the perfect putt.
That’s the way I play all my putts. I pick out a point at the very apex of the break, and align myself to that spot. I putt this way for a couple of reasons. The first is that there’s no point in thinking past that apex; once I get the ball to that point and with the proper speed, it’s on its own. I can’t direct the ball past this spot, so I don’t see any point in thinking beyond it. Secondly, when one does concentrate on the hole on a breaking putt, there can be a tendency to direct your swing that way as well, resulting in pulls on right-to-left putts and pushes on left-to-rights. When you concentrate on the apex spot, you’re immune to this.