Big Play: Watney’s putting tempo on Doral’s back nine

Nick Watney made several clutch putts on the back nine on Sunday at Doral.
Fred Vuich/SI

WHO: Nick Watney
WHAT: 24-foot putt for par
WHEN: Final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship
WHERE: 175-yard par three 15th hole at Doral

Nick has great rhythm in his full swing, and he does the same thing with his putting. The hardest thing to do when you’re nervous is maintain rhythm on the greens, but Nick was able to do it during the final round at Doral. His 12-foot birdie putt at 18 was clutch, but his best putts might’ve been the lengthy par putts he made at the par 3s on the back nine, holes 13 and 15.

THE DRILL: Under pressure, most golfers think about things like hitting the hole or focusing on the target, but you’d be better served to focus your attention on rhythm and tempo. Nick is always aware of his tempo — it’s the secret to keeping his putter going back and following through smoothly.

My favorite tempo drill for putting involves practicing with a putter that has a cavity in the back of the clubhead. I lay a quarter in the cavity, then I make sure the coin remains in the cavity throughout each putt. If you can keep the quarter in the cavity, you’ll have good tempo.

More putting tips from Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Michael Breed is the head professional at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y.