Putting Observations: Woods and Stricker

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

There are a number of important elements in the art of putting but none are more important than rhythm. In this video I put Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, two of the best putters known to man, side-by-side as they each hit about a 10 foot putt. Their strokes are quite similar, especially in the rhythm category. Watching them hit putts over and over is a great way to incorporate that smooth movement that produces such a nice roll on the ball every time. It is also interesting to note that theirs are definitely arm and shoulder strokes, as is evidenced by the separation of the left elbow from the side of the body in the follow-through.
I also take a look at the completely rhythm of Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker, who move their putters back and forth at a much faster pace. On the metronome they would clock in somewhere between 90 and 100 bpm (beats per minute), while Tiger and Stricker would be in the 80-85 range. Contrast that with Loren Roberts’ 60-65 bpm and you have just about the full range of speeds. Just goes to show you that putting is no different from swinging: great players find their own way to do it.
One other interesting item here is the stroke of Jason Day. While he employs a beautiful arcing stroke, I show, with the use of the V1 toggle, that he shifts his weight to his heels and moves his head backwards as he strokes the putt, pulling the backswing under his original plane. I’m pretty sure that if he saw that he would immediately fix the problem by finding a spot on his feet to concentrate his weight, and then trying to stay aware of remaining solidly there during the stroke.

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Jim Miller August 16, 2013

Wayne – Great stuff a usual. Tempo and rhythm are two very different things, right? Rhythm is akin to speed as tempo defines its sequential application. Of the two, tempo is key as it defines how our muscles are hardwired for greatest efficiency in movement. It’s paramount in controlling force and the resulting ball speed.

Would you not agree that Maintaining 3:1 while putting is no different than doing same on full shots? TourTempo.com does sell gadgets / tones / sounds at various 3:1 rhythms for putting and they produce better stroke results v metronomes as well they should. I’d wager if you count the stroke video frames of Stricker’s or Woods or any other successful putter’s you’d find a 3:1 ratio with endless rhythms in use.

As for Eldrik, you can clearly see how his left wrist breaks down at impact and he actually “flips” the putter head vertically. He calls this his “release” which is total (successful)BS as it’s really no different than allowing a chubhead to pass the hands at impact on a full shot v maintaining a flat, level, vertical, left wrist. (Clubhead throw away.) IMO his post impact “hold” is his que or reminder to maintain or manipulating the putter head as square as possible thru impact and down the line. That’s why the endless practice stroking between the tees as well. Eldrik must be perfect with timing his impact position to make a ton of pressure putts…. something he was once very adept at doing!! In even asking Stricker for help it shows he’s self doubt. Without question Eldrik is a superb green reader and judge of speed. IMO those are the foundations for his success on the greens and not his stroke.

Stricker does not have Woods’ action nor compensations and it’s why his stoke looks so pure. His wrists are rock solid at / thru impact. He hinges at his left shoulder at impact which allows the putter face to remain square at low point and post impact. His putter is square to the line longer than Woods. There isn’t as much “hit” though there is definitely an impact. He allows his his left elbow to move away from his body as it should and just as in a full swing. Dave Stockton alludes to this in his instruction.

Jason Day is a basket case. Body movement as his changes the entire geometry of his putting setup. His brain has to make so many fine adjustments during the stroke it’s overloaded and he’s screwed before he ever starts the putter back. I like Snedeker & Simpson’s rhythms but it’s just not for me. We’re all a little unique.

It only requires about 1/8 inch variance at impact to make a ball sweep completely across the cup at 10 feet. It’s really quite a miracle we make as many putts as we do and even more fascinating proof of the amazing power of our brains in making such finite adjustments. Back to the laboratory.

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