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Play Your Best: Shortcuts by Tom Watson

Shortcuts To Clutch Putting

Body English: Begging it in usually means you didn't play enough break

June 2014

The thing about breaking putts is, the ball comes into the hole at an angle, not from straight on. So the center of the cup moves to the high side. Visualize this as you read the putt, or you'll make the common mistake of underplaying the break. Remember that the ball will curve a lot more as it slows down near the hole, and you have to factor that into your read. That's where we all tend to underplay the break.

You want the ball to go in on the high side—where you now picture the center of the hole to be—especially if you're trying to die it in like Ben Crenshaw would. If you hit it firm, like I did in my youth, you can play less break—but you'll leave yourself a longer putt if you miss. Be careful.

Tom Watson is captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

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