"Expect Anything Different?!"
The putt that day in 2008. The eruption. The celebration. And that iconic line.
I think back to Tiger's last major championship victory at the 2008 US Open and realized I knew what was going to happen before he hit the putt. It's just how the story was written. Always has been, and it seemed at the time, always would be. The expectations were tremendous. When the putt went in, the excitement was obvious, but we all expected it to go in. Dan Hicks even exclaimed, "Expect anything different?!"
The expectations, regardless of your ability level, are always high. Being able to manage those expectations during your practice and on the golf course are invaluable tools. The real question is what should your expectations be?
If the bar is set too high, you might make yourself more frustrated than anything. Here are a couple of key questions to ask yourself. Write your answers down a piece of paper and keep scrolling below the picture to see the answers...
Question 1: What percentage of putts do PGA Tour Players make from 3 feet? 8 feet? 20 feet?
Answer: 96%, 50%, and 15% respectively.
Raise your hand if you overestimated the 8 and 20 foot make percentages. It's okay, almost everyone does. Feel like those numbers can't be right? Remember, when we watch golf on Sunday afternoon, those are the best in the world performing at the highest level. If they weren't, we wouldn't be watching them in the final groups on Sunday.
What are some ways you can keep your putting in proper perspective? First, grab a tape measure and figure out how far away 8 feet actually is. A lot of amateurs claim to miss 8 footers that turn out to be closer to 10 or even 12 feet.
Second, keep track of the distance of the first putt you hit on the green and how many putts it takes you to hole it. This is valuable information that can be used to track your strokes gained putting. What is strokes gained putting you ask? Click here to learn more about it and how it can be useful to you and how you practice your putting.
Question 2: What begins to happen to a PGA Tour players’ putting at 33 feet?
Answer: Tour players begin to 3 putt more than they 1 putt from 33 feet away.
Pat yourself on the back if you got this one right. While it doesn’t happen terribly often, the fact of the matter is that it does happen. Next time you hit a mediocre approach shot and leave yourself a long birdie putt from outside of 33 feet, don’t get too bent out of shape if you happen to three putt. Instead, focus on ways you can improve your long range putting like AimPoint Green Reading.
What’s This All Means
You may not have aced these questions like Ken Jennings did for 74 straight episodes of Jeopardy!, but you definitely have a good reason to reassess your expectations. What’s the best way to go about that? Start understanding what areas of your game need improvement and what reasonable expectations are. And if you still have questions, all you need to do is click the link HERE and let me answer those questions for you in The Putting Experience.