Part 4 of 7 of the Classic Golf Channel Interview with Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon
Peter: So here is a question for Tiger and Butch what changes did the two of you make in Tiger’s putting stroke after the 2nd round of the Masters? Thank you Joe Howell.
Butch: With in all honestly Peter, Tiger putted, probable the worst you have putted in a few years.
Butch: Thursday and Friday as I said earlier David [inaudible [00:00:20.08]] had a big lead and Tiger hit more greens than David had, and he wasn’t making any putts, he was so upset with himself, we just went home Friday night. He thought about it, I thought about it and we came out on the green real early Sunday morning. Almost 2 hours before the play which is about an hour more than he would normally would and all we did we just putt some, just hit some, something going on here we got to figure it out. His dad told him he thought his hands were a little low. And he is getting his left hand a little weaker here which got his hands up. Go ahead and take your set up here. And what we saw Peter was the blade … you don’t have to hit it take it back a little bit on the inside. The blade was actually coming back on the inside and most of the putts he missed were to the right and push and I saw that on the putting green so what we did. Go ahead and take your set up here. And this is what our viewers can do at home. It’s just a little drill, I took a putter and I put it right in here, along the line of where he was going to take it back. He just took it back where he missed this putter and was able to go ahead and stroke it. Ok let’s do that again, let’s show them again. So all we did and you can have a friend do this for you. I just put this putter blade in there and take it a little inside so you can see what happens. And it happened at first when we go on the putting green didn’t it.
Tiger: The first couple times it did,
Butch: He ran right into it and I am not going to tell you what he said. Because this is a family show but it was a little upset with himself.
Peter: And it is not a dysfunctional family show.
Butch: All right lets go again we got the blade there. This putter is just on the line we got to take it back on and that’s pretty much all we worked on before you tee off you putt if beautifully on the weekend.
Tiger: I putted good on a weekend, I lot of good solid putts and made a few to get right back in the ball game.
Peter: We’ve got emails on Friday night saying Tiger’s eyes are outside that are gone off for a meeting, people are watching that this is not his normal stroke what’s going on. A few three putts.
Butch: If you think about the speed of the game first of all and you can tell them about that. Someone said to me how could Tiger have taken the putter that far inside. You are not putting on normal greens here. These are like putting in your bathtub.
Tiger: The problem with a lot of those putts is that. A lot of other pros who putt on tour obviously like to release the blade. I like to let the blade pass a hands little bit. The problem is when you putt on green so fast it is virtually impossible to let the blade release like you normally do so I guess in essence for me I feel like I am releasing the blade I saw it creeping in the inside so I felt like if I took it inside far enough, how I have to release it now. I don’t know whatever it was, it wasn’t good and we fixed it and I went back on the weekend and shot a great weekend.
Peter: Better weekend than anybody else has 69/68. What are you two working on in terms of set up with putting distinct from full shot? Eyes over ball, ball position, those kinds of thing. Where is the wait field in the bottom of the …
Butch: Well have the drill that he uses all the time where he takes two tees. Take a set where you use two balls. He will take two tees and put them in the ground just about as wide apart as his putter head. And you do this at the tournament and you’ve got to make 50 in a row before you can go home.
Tiger: A hundred
Butch: A hundred in a row before he goes home, and so then he will just stroke these balls, he will try and make this swing. He starts out doing it one-handed, just a stroke so it goes through there and the whole key is for the edge of the putter not to hit the tee. No the other thing he will do when he takes the set up. Throw me one of those balls over there, Peter, just any one. Go ahead and take your set up and show them what you do for your eyes. Take your set up.
Tiger: Gosh I’ll do this, set up normally. Normal weight, normal posture. Hold the putter back put my ball right between my eyes; let it go and that’s where my eyes should be. But I put a little twist on it, I don’t want my eyes exactly on the golf ball, I like them a little bit behind so I will drop them right there and move it a little bit further forward but it is still on the target line.
Peter: Jack did that too, what’s the benefit of that?
Tiger: I have always putted there, my entire life I have always have my eyes behind the ball, and for me to have my eyes on top of the golf ball I can’t see the line.
Peter: Are you left eye dominant?
Tiger: I am
Peter: That would account for it wouldn’t it?
Butch: We work on a lot of it, take your set up Tiger and we’ll talk about head position. Tiger tends to get his head too far forward this way and I always watch the bill of his cap when he is practicing. I always take it and turn it back towards the bill of his cap is straight up and down then I know he has got his eye perfect. And this is something we’ve worked on a lot. During this stretch we started with it at the PGA last year when you putted so well. And just went on from there.
Tiger: It is not a easy thing to do because obviously I am left eye and I like to cheat and look and I guess one of the things is, I tend to stroll with my head position that way and tend try to cheat down the line. So I felt at the PGA last year I try to feel as if I am looking at this ball with my right eye only. I have my right eye, close my left eye. So I can’t cheat and look down the line I have to turn my head back that’s how I did it.
Peter: What do you feel here, how soft is that or not?
Tiger: I try to feel on a scale of 1 to 10. Probably like a 5 and a half or 6. Which is not what I used to be.
Peter: Jonny Miller wanted it a half yard so [crosstalk[00:05:40.13]]
Butch: I am laughing because years ago, when you were first a rookie on the tour I gave Tiger the putter to practice with, he used to put this death grip on and you could see his hands, oozing the blood out of his hands, he would hold it so tight and I had this grip that had a beep in it. So that when you putted it, if you squeeze it too hard it would beep. I say hey I want you to take this to the course and I want you to put with it because your grips too tight. He absolutely couldn’t do it. He just starts like it go ” Beep, beep, beep” So it made him so mad he squeeze it tighter where it beeped the whole time and it got to the point where he said look I am not taking this the course it is embarrassing. I can’t do it and you started using it in your room every night. And pretty soon he got to where his hands were a lot lighter where he could make his stroke and he wouldn’t have this thing go off. The key was it just gave him a better feel.
Tiger: I can feel the way that the putter had. I remember in ’97 when I met Iran and Mark at Pebble Beach we were talking to Ben Crenshaw picking at brain on practice team. Just pick his brain as how he would like to feel the putter. Hey he is always telling me, he is like this, he has this swung in his hands real light. He says I always believe in getting that putter head behind my hands. And then from there the way the putter head hit the golf ball. I say ok that makes sense. I took it back there and my hands are going like this. My hands are too tight, and so I remember him just holding the blade like this, got to loosen up my hands got my putter head behind my hands and from there the way let the putter hit the ball. I end up shooting 60 … was it 64. 63/64 on a weekend putting that way after a little lesson from Crenshaw
Peter: You know Crenshaw got that from Bobby Jones who likes to feel that when he was set up over the putter. You can literally just tap the putter with your foot and [inaudible [00:07:30.27]]
We will take a little break, we will be right back don’t go away