The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2016
32 THE CUT PUTTING FOR DOUGH 32ASK STEVE WILLIAMS QSteve, you are known for your read on the 10th hole at Augusta when Adam Scott holed to win the playoff and the 2013 Masters. Just how involved do caddies get in the reading of putts and does the player always listen to what you have to say? It would also be interesting to hear your take on putting: where you rate it when it comes to a player’s overall game. And how do players and caddies cope when winning or losing comes down to that final pressure putt? One other thing: have you ever seen anything before like Ernie Els’ putting disaster on his first hole at Augusta this year? A Putting is certainly the most individual aspect of the game, with a wide variety of styles used by today’s professionals. There are so many different ways players hold the club, along with an increasing number of putters that differ from the conventional flat sticks that dominated the game for years. Today it’s unusual to see players in the same group all with a conventional putter and using a conventional grip. Few players rely entirely on their caddies to read all the putts. Often, when a player is not certain, they will call their caddy in, as was the case at the 2013 Masters when Adam called me in on the second playoff hole. Putting is the most important part of the game. Even though it’s impossible to hit the ball the same every day, it is possible to putt consistently each and every day. The best putters on tour, including Jordan Spieth, spend considerable time practising on the putting green. One of the keys to being a good putter is having the ability to read greens well – it’s a vital component for any player aspiring to play tour golf. Of equal importance is having good speed on the greens. I believe it’s difficult to rely entirely on a caddy to read greens when reading the line of the putts is based on the speed of the putt. The faster the greens, different lines can be chosen based on the speed so a putt either falls in the front or hits the back of the cup. When it comes down to the final hole with a putt to win the tournament, the players who nail those are generally solid golfers with good technique. Both players and caddies relish the opportunity to have that putt on the final hole to win an event. In golf there is no greater thrill or bigger disappointment that occurs in such a short time! With the game’s governing bodies banning the use of long putters that are anchored, I question whether the use of green- reading books is within the traditions of the game. Players can buy green books – similar to yardage books – at events that basically do away with the need to read a green with your eyes. Green reading is an important aspect of the game and I believe there should only be one way to do that. Ernie Els’ putting disaster on the first hole at Augusta this year can happen on greens that are slick. Danny Lee had a similar incident on the 10th hole during his first appearance at Augusta. From being inside the cut, he six-putted to end his hopes of qualifying for the weekend. Over the years I’ve seen many four- putts at Augusta. THE STEVE WILLIAMS FOUNDATION KIWICADDY.COM Adam Scott calls on caddie Steve Williams to help line up the winning putt at the The Masters, 2013.
The Cut - Spring 2016