News & ToursJuly 15, 2008

Birkdale Memories: Johnny and the Fingernail Polish

Royal Birkdale has a rich history in the British Open, and we've captured much of it in the pages of Golf Digest and Golf World. Here's a look back at some favorite anecdotes culled from the pages of our magazines.

Birkdale was the site of Johnny Miller's Open victory in 1976, by six strokes over Jack Nicklaus and 19-year-old Seve Ballesteros. As a guest columnist for Golf World a dozen years later, Miller recalled he thought he had been due to win the Open, but there was one problem:

"My putting," Miller wrote. "The yips that eventually tore me apart had just begun to set in, and I was desperate to find a stroke that worked."

For those similarly afflicted, read on:

"I found the answer in, of all places, a bottle of red fingernail polish," Miller wrote. "One of the causes of the yips is concentrating too intently on the ball, or watching the putterhead swing back and forth during the stroke. I solved that by painting a little red dot on the grip of my putter, just below my right thumb. I focused my eyes on the dot while I putted instead of the ball. I tried to make the dot move at a constant speed back and through, and darned if it didn't work."

--Mike O'Malley

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