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What Charlie Said about Tiger's Putting

Credit: Instagram @golfdigest

When my inbox is littered with shares of the same post, it’s a good sign to write about the topic since it seems more than my wife and dog would like to read about it. So let’s talk about Tiger… more specifically what Charlie said about Tiger.

There are several things in play here and a couple we’ll want to break down here.

Does Tiger Hook His Putts?

Let’s start with the basic premise: You cannot literally “hook” a putt. The ball isn’t in the air enough time for it to actually curve. If you blinked, you missed it. So no, Tiger doesn’t “hook” his putts.

But let’s assume Charlie has inherited some good golf IQ genes. What is actually happening that might cause him (or some of you that shared this with me) to say that they feel or notice that?


Face to Path Relationship

This one might be the most common scenario. When there is a large differential between the club’s face and path angles, the golf ball’s spin axis will tilt. This is the same premise as with any other club like driver, but because there’s virtually no air time, we don’t see the curve.

If you just balked at the phrase spin axis tilt, fear not.. This isn’t a hard concept. Picture a golf ball with wings like an airplane. If the face-path relationship is neutral, or they’re close to each other, the “wings” will stay level and the ball will have a “good roll.” If there’s a big difference between the face and path, the wings on the plane (spin axis) will tilt and the ball will have a “wobble” or “poor roll.” When the face is closed relative to the path as shown in this example, the spin axis (wings on the plane) will tilt to the left or the ball will have “hook spin.”

When the face-path relationship is neutral, the spin axis will have very little tilt or the wings stay level.

When the face is closed relative to the path, the spin axis or wings on the plane will tilt left (RH golfers)

Without writing a dissertation, about 2-3 feet after the ball leaves the face, the ball will be back in true roll, but some funky and less than desirable things can happen prior to that. Most of those undesirables result in things like the line on your ball disappearing after impact (shown below) and you missing the putt.


Face Rotation

We’ve seen in Tiger’s data that there is a lot of face rotation in his stroke. This means the putter face opens and closes a lot during his stroke. This is different from the arc or path of the putter with examples of the differences between those two shown below.

The purpose of this post is neither to dispute what Tiger does or whether or not his stroke is “good,” nor is it to debate whether or not some, any, or high amounts of face rotation are “good.”  He’s widely considered the GOAT (please debate that topic elsewhere) by many for a reason and has delivered some great putts in his day.

But if you go back and look at some of the “poor” putting days, it's easy to find a few left misses. We have to consider the possibility that as Tiger has aged and invariably practiced less due to health reasons, that maybe Charlie has picked up on the little bit of left launch habit in his old man’s putting.


The Wrap Up

If that left launch does sneak in there, maybe it has caused Tiger to play more break on those right to left putts to account for the tendency. Maybe Charlie has noticed that and we’re left with this little discrepancy to pick apart online.

Maybe Charlie isn’t too far off the mark after all…

If you think you struggle with “hooking putts” and left misses, we can start by sorting that out in an online lesson. Check out the bonuses that we're offering between now and January 2, 2024! If you are going to come to Orlando, sign up for The Putting Experience here. Because it's a holiday, sign up for any 2024 session between now and January 2, 2024 and you'll get a FREE Preston's Putting Template!


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