Big Play: Stay rock solid on clutch putts like Hunter Mahan

Who: Hunter MahanHunter_mahan_putt What: 14-foot birdie putt Where: 162-yard par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale When: Final round of the Waste Management Phoenix OpenEverybody on Tour hits a lot of solid shots, but the guy who wins is
usually the guy who makes not only crucial putts, but also the most
putts. Hunter Mahan won in Scottsdale, Ariz., because he made all of
his crucial putts and a ton of others. From within 10 feet, Mahan was
65 of 67 for the week.Mahan was so darn steady and still over
the putts. His head didn’t move a bit and his eyes were eerily calm. He
kept his eyes down over where the ball was well after impact. That’s
the opposite of what I see in most amateurs when they putt. They get so
nervous that all they think about is whether they’ll make it, and they
forget about the only thing they should think about: how to execute the
. Because they’re worried about making the putt, people tend to
shake and move their bodies a lot and lift up their heads to follow the
ball, all of which usually makes them miss the putts.Here’s a
simple but effective way to practice staying rock-solid steady on
pressure putts. Stand 15 feet from the hole and think only about
executing the putt, not whether the ball goes into the hole. After
impact, keep your eyes focused on the spot where the ball was sitting
for a couple of seconds, until the ball is at least eight to 10 feet
away. Be sure to take this practice regimen to the course and do the
same thing while playing. Eric Johnson is director of instruction at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.(Photo: AP)

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