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Tiger Woods: A Champion’s Posture

To not write about Tiger Woods this morning would be impossible. His clutch putt on the 72nd hole to force a Monday playoff at the U.S. Open cannot be ignored.

However, his 65-footer for eagle on the par five 13th on Saturday was perhaps the most astonishing of his many remarkable putts over the past four days. It wasn’t just the daunting distance and break of this putt, but also its timing. This putt literally changed the momentum, the complexion, of the entire tournament.

Even if Rocco Mediate ultimately wins the U.S. Open today (and what a great champion he would make), there will be no denying that Tiger Woods has staged another putting performance for the ages.

So what can us mere mortals learn from this? Since Woods does things that are even beyond the grasp of his peers on the PGA Tour, how can the average recreational golfer remotely relate to his game? The temptation is to simply sit back and marvel at the man.

Yet despite Woods’ otherworldly abilities, all of us can learn while marveling, and ultimately take something away that will raise our own games. Check out his green reading, his pre-shot routine, his tempo. These things are easier said than done, but worth emulating nonetheless

But if there’s one thing that we can all learn and apply immediately, it’s Woods’ perfect putting posture.

Of course, Woods’ posture in general is exemplary, and is no doubt rooted in his storied fitness regimen. But when it comes to putting, his posture is just as strategic as it is physical. In fact, in the putting chapter of his own instruction book, Woods writes: “One of the fundamentals sacred to me is posture.”

Woods believes in standing fairly tall at address, without any hunching or rounding of the shoulders. Check it out for yourself during today’s playoff. It’s a modern posture, with little resemblance to the cramped styles of yesteryear (for example, just watch some old footage of Nicklaus). It is built for modern greens and modern equipment.

Woods’ posture is firm yet relaxed, linear yet fluid, and ultimately utterly natural. Even the most infrequent weekend hacker can apply this principle to his or her game, which makes today’s playoff not just phenomenal entertainment, but a lasting lesson as well.

P.S. Wondering which putter model will win the U.S. Open? Rocco Mediate’s putter is an Odyssey Sabertooth, while Woods’ trusty putter is a Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2 with a blacked out PING grip.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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