The 2001 Players Championship is best remembered for Tiger Woods miraculous, “better than most” putt on the 17th hole, which sparked Woods to victory. But runner-up Vijay Singh conjured his own bit of final-round magic on the par-5 16th using a highly unorthodox method.
With his ball resting on the fringe but against a collar of longer grass, Singh turned his putter sideways to place the toe directly behind the ball. He stroked it perfectly and the ball found the cup for an eagle 3.
What would possess Singh to try such an unusual shot under that kind of pressure? For one thing, Singh is one of the most diligent workers in golfer history and had likely practiced it thousands of times. For another, it’s a great alternative in this situation – and surprisingly easy to execute.
Turning the putter on its toe raises the heel end so that it travels upward, above the level of the collar, on the backstroke. This prevents the grass from grabbing the blade, which is the primary concern on these delicate shots.
Give it a try on the practice green and you may just discover a new weapon.
In fact, set aside a few minutes of each practice session to hit regular putts this way. Because of the small surface you’ve got to strike, you’ll have to stroke the ball smoothly to make solid contact. Your tempo and consistency will improve.