Less than a month after insisting that his technique was perfect, Padraig Harrington admits that he has a technical issue on the greens.
The Dubliner, 40, has complained that his putting has been holding him back for the best part of 18 months and after finishing 15th behind Jason Dufner in the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday he revealed that he has just realised that he has been decelerating on his putts.
Writing on his blog, Harrington said:
For the last while now I have been struggling with my putting and I haven’t been able to put my finger on the problem. Early in the week I went on a computer system that I also have at home. [Former PGA Tour player] Howard Twitty was operating it with a friend of his called Lanny [. Johnson M.D.]. After a while Howard commented that it looked like I was decelerating on my putts. When I thought about it, it made perfect sense as to how I had been putting. I spent the rest of the week working on accelerating through the ball. The only problem with this was that when I got on the course I found it hard to forget about it and it was a little distracting. However I got through it by concentrating on taking a short back swing and following through. It definitely felt a lot better and when I went back to hitting “no thinkers” on the putting green I could feel the deceleration in the stroke. It is such a small thing but it was great to find it out. I can work away on it now and I’m sure it will come good.
That’s good news for Harrington and his fans, who were left scratching their heads after his putting performances in the Masters and the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, where his putting deteriorated under pressure on both occasions
It was also interesting to see images from Texas that appear to confirm that he has ditched the thick, P2 putting grip he’s been using since the start of the season.
Speaking about his putting stroke just days after returning from the US last month, Harrington said:
I have the most magnificent putting stroke. But I had the most magnificent putting stroke when I putted conventionally as an amateur. I had the most magnificent putting stroke for the last year. If you putt me on a ball roll, I would send that ball off with the purest strike with no sidespin. When you look at everything about my strokes, the rhythm and all that, everything about my putting stroke is perfect. But I don’t putt well that way. The way I putt well is I get the ball in the hole. I couldn’t care less about anything about my stroke. I start the ball where I want it to go and in she goes, most of the time.
Discovering that there is indeed a physical problem could be a godsend for Harrington as he returns to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship this week for the first time since 2010, when he finished sixth on the new greens.
Whether he can hit “no-thinkers” is another matter but getting to the root of the problem must surely be a major relief.
Twitty’s website promoting his book, There is More to Putting than Meets the Eye, speaks about helping players rid themselves of “Psychomotor Burdens” or “the subtle often unseen movements that interfere with successful putting.”
His tips may just help Harrington lift a heavy burden at a crucial stage of his career.