Right now Tiger Wood’s golf game is the hot topic. Journalists and commentators are having a ball; some might describe it as a frenzied feast. The sharks are circling.

But no one has written about his putting being part of his general demise. Let me add a few words that might shed new light on Tiger’s recent performances.

Have a look on the web for SAM Puttlab data on Tiger Woods. It gives a thorough breakdown of his putting action and, with a little considered thought, an insight into his putting.

According to the data, Tiger has great timing (81%) and even greater consistency (95.1%). Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? But there is more to these numbers than first appears. Tiger is like a 100 metre sprinter competing at the highest international level…but he is carrying two house bricks in the race. Allow me to explain.

All the top putting coaches agree that a golfer should aim at the target then putt where he/she is aimed and stroke the ball so that it arrives at the target with good holing speed.

Tiger aims to the right of the target from 2.82° to 3.72°. Let’s go a little further before I comment. His putter face at impact is on average 0.2° closed and his putter path is 0.1° open that translates to a ball direction of 0.2° closed.

Even though he aims to the right of the target Tiger strokes the ball inside the hole at the ten feet distance (three metres). So what’s the problem if he strokes the ball on line with a high degree of consistency?

Tiger can get away with this as long as his ball position is correct every time, his body alignment is absolutely right and that there is absolutely no lower body movement at all. If any of these three factors are out, even just a smidgin, his putting will be off.

For me, I have always preferred a putting action that is as natural as possible. And when you look at the statistics for Tiger’s putting path side view you will see that he has to exaggerate his action.

His putter has a loft of 3° and at impact he leans the shaft back 1.5° giving an effective loft of 4.5° at impact. To compensate for this high level of loft Tiger needs to swing his putter up at around 3.3° to attain neutral spin.

So I would recommend that Tiger goes to his club maker and has his putter delofted to 1.5° so that he doesn’t have to make this exaggerated upward finish to his action. His putting action would be more natural.

You will have noticed that Tiger’s rotation rate through impact is a whopping 73° when the SAM Puttlab tour average is 20°.

It’s because Tiger aims so far to the right at address that he has to swing the putter head so much to square it up at impact). Tiger, you’d better have that ball position just right and never ever flinch while you are putting otherwise that ball will never find its way into the bottom of the cup.

It is rumoured that a winner of a golfing Major once told Tiger that a golfer should have a little late release of the putter head just before impact. Such ill informed advice is a prime factor in Tiger being second on the list of Majors winners.

You’ll notice that when Tiger misses a ten footer or less his ball scoots by the hole. He does not have constant acceleration in his stroke. You’ll see an upward bump in the acceleration curve in the SAM Puttlab dynamics just before impact. How can you control this? How can you put the pressure on every time in the putting action at exactly the right moment? How much practice does this require? And will anyone ever be able to do this consistently? Make that carrying three house bricks in a 100 metre sprint.

Tiger is making it really hard on himself. And this analysis is confirmed in the last section of SAM Puttlab analysis –Timing. There is a ratio of backswing time divide by forward swing time and in the case of 100 tour pros the number is 2.1.

Tiger’s number is 2.29.

Tiger swings the putter back at about the same rate as most of the tour players but has a really fast forward swing time. Someone needs to tell Tiger that it’s not acceleration that you need in a putting action but constant acceleration.By the way anyone can learn constant acceleration and have it embedded in their putting action within a week or two.

So, Tiger, here is my advice in a nutshell or three: Make sure that you set up the same way every time; have your putter delofted and then incorporate a constant acceleration into your stroke. That way you’ll sink more ten footers and get back to where you rightfully belong.

And golf will be better for your return.

Kevin O’Neill
Inventor of the DOT putter.