Jimmy Walker Misreading a Putt but Making it Anyway

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

I thought this was a great example of how sometimes a player can do just about everything wrong and still get away with it. Jimmy Walker grossly under-reads this 5 foot, left to right breaking putt, lines the line up on the ball to his read, then proceeds to take his putter outside and loop it out even more so that it pulls the ball at least a cup left of the hole, after which the ball sneaks in the far right side of the cup. My take on this is that Walker instinctively and subconsciously knew that the putt was going to break way more than he read, and by the time he pulled the trigger he just maneuvered the putter to get the ball rolling on the correct line. He won the tournament, and it certainly helps when putts like this that should never go in just go in anyway. This is also one of the reasons I never use the line on the ball when I putt. I tried it a few times and could never get comfortable with where the line was aiming. I would often make my final read when over the putt, and by that time, if the read had changed, the line was a major distraction.

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(7) comments

Brent October 27, 2013

I really like the stuff on putting. Very interesting. Like to see more!
And not sure if this is the right place for requests but love to see a video on Graham Deleat. (I’m from Canada. Cheering for him these days)

Christian October 27, 2013

We’ve all been there. Standing over it and knowing you did not setup to make it. For years I’ve always said alignment is the most important fundamental in putting. The mechanics of a stroke are relatively simple otherwise.

I’ve had the same discussion with my Dad and wife about lining up putts as well. Left edge to me is the center of the ball on the tangent of the cup. My two cents.

Everett October 27, 2013

a golf ball is a minimum1.68, not 1.64. I may not be able to play a lick but I’m a good engineer. LOL

Cool observation btw.

Clinton October 27, 2013

In Dave Pelz’s study a bunch of years ago, he found that tour pros consistently under-read putts to a fairly significant degree. And for some reason, the golf announcers on TV never got the memo on this. Other than at Augusta, I can’t remember the last time I heard an announcer read/predict a 5 foot putt was more than one or two balls outside the hole (and even THAT is a rare read). In the Jimmy Walker 5-footer, that putt break a minimum of 8 or nine inches. So, to gut it dead center, Walker should’ve played it at least a cup and half outside left edge (5 balls outside left edge). Maybe the TV guys are afraid of looking dumb by “guessing” a putt will break that much, only to then watch the player play the putt inside the hole and make it.

Mark October 28, 2013

This is what I don’t get about the Pelz model. Had he gone straight back and through on that line, the odds of holing it were virtually zero. Pelz’s tests showed everyone under reads, so what’s the point in promoting a stroke that wont allow for human error? The maths and anatomy don’t make sense. I’m still one of the dumbasses who tried it, mind you.

Michael November 3, 2013

How could a tour pro make such a poor putting stroke? It’s hard to understand from a mechanical point of view – which every response has focussed on. From a brain science perspective it’s much easier to understand. Subconsciously, and based on his experience of thousands of putts, Jimmy ‘knew’ that there was more break. He mechanically setup the putt but his subconscious knowledge took over at the last minute and saved a stroke for him.

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