Pat Perez: Try my simple test to see if you can spot the line of the putt.
Everyone putts poorly at times, including me. Check this out: in 2016, I missed 32 of 70 attempts from four to eight feet. That got my attention. I wasn’t giving any thought to how I wanted to approach my putting, and that had to change. I started by putting down chalk lines on a green, and what I found was, my eye line at address was way off. What my eyes saw as a straight line to the hole turned out to be well right of it. For a 15-foot putt, it was off by as much as a foot or more. That’s a long way to be off for anyone, let alone a professional.
Be sure your eyes are seeing the right line.
I realised I needed to change my head position to see the line correctly every time. That setup will be different for everyone, so it’s trial and error. For me, it involved rotating my head a little towards the target. I just kept moving it until my eyes were matched with where the ball had to start to go in the
hole. That head position might be different for you. To find it, pick out a medium-length putt where the correct line is obvious. Then address the ball, and let your head swivel slowly left or right seeing if you can get your eyes to match that line. The non-starters will be readily apparent, but there will likely be a few head positions that feel like you’ve got it. You’re close, but now it’s time to fine-tune it.
Pick out a two or three-foot putt. (Let’s face it, if you can’t get on line from this close, you’re not going to be able to do it from 20 feet.) Keep adjusting your head until you’re sure your eye position matches the line. It should be one of the positions you noted from farther away. That’s the one you want for
every putt going forward.
At the first tournament after changing my eye position, things felt awkward – like my eyes were oriented way left of where I wanted them to be. But over a few weeks, that feeling started to go away. Making more putts sure helped with that. Since then, I’ve won twice and had my two best years on tour. So check your eyes!
Pat Perez spoke with E. Michael Johnson