As Adam Scott proved by almost winning the Masters, the long putter is a great tool for regaining your confidence on the greens. It has helped Scott and a bunch of guys on the Champions tour, although the most striking turnabout I’ve seen is Maria Hjorth’s. Her putting got so bad that in 2004 she had to go back to QÂ school. She switched to a long putter, regained her card and has since won twice on the LPGA, including last year’s Tour Championship. Traditionalists hate the way the broom handle looks, but that’s not the real problem with it. The USGA and R&A are always updating the rules, and there’s consistent chatter that they’ll make it illegal to anchor any putter against your body. My advice: Use the long putter if you need to find your stroke, but don’t fall in love with it.
• My rookie year. Kemper Open. Playing the 18th (my ninth). I could not get the ball over a pond from 110Â yards and ended up making a 10. It was a total Tin Cup moment. That’s not as bad as Kevin Na’s 16 last week or Rory McIlroy’s three-hole crash at the Masters, but they’re all of the same type. When those meltdowns happen, you have to get the world to stop. Step away and take a moment to gather yourself. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, and it took me a while to learn. Na (above) and McIlroy will get there. Afterward the best thing to do is get right back in the action before scar tissue has time to form. McIlroy did that by finishing third in the Malaysian Open, and Na did it by making three birdies on the back nine. Unfortunately for Na, he shot a 77 the next day, which made the 80, with a 16, look very good.