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Oosthuizen’s unusual putting problem

July 31st, 2012 · No Comments

Louis Oosthuizen is the fellow who scored that double eagle at this year’s Masters, only to lose a playoff to Bubba Watson. He also won the 2010 British Open by seven shots. And he’s got a gorgeous swing and unlimited potential.

So, when Jay Townsend said, “I think Louie (Oosthuizen) questions his putting,” on Morning Drive today, my ears perked up. Louis, a poor putter?

I had looked at his stats recently and recalled that he was at the top – so I checked out the numbers and, sure enough, Oosthuizen is ranked #1 on tour from 3-5 feet (he’s 97 for 101). He’s also ranked #1 under 5 feet (he’s made 414 of 419)!

I was right, and Jay is wrong. Not so fast there Phil. I then checked out Oosthuizen’s record from 5-15 feet, the other key scoring range, and discovered that he is one of the worst from this distance on tour this year, making only 40% to rank 183rd (he’s made only 78 of 195). In contrast, Aaron Baddeley, the leader, has holed 54% of his putts from this range.

If Oosthuizen had only come remotely close to matching his skill on short putts from 5-15 feet  by making as many as the 50th best on tour (47.5%), he would have used  15 fewer putts this year in his 13 events.

That’s only one and a fraction per tournament – but if one of those misses had NOT occurred in the Masters, he would have won his second major!

The solution for Oosthuizen’s great statistical disconnect would not, it seems, be with his mechanics – there is no way that he could hole so many short ones without having solid fundamentals.

The problem is probably with his green reading from outside 6-7 feet and/or his speed control. But one thing is for sure: the answer is not to switch to those putters that certain player’s use to cure the yips!

Tags: Tiger vs. Jack

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