Jim McLean: Face Up To Short Putts
Webb Simpson's ability to keep the putterface dead-square on short putts really impresses me. Of course, he uses a belly putter, and that's designed to help you control the face. But Webb has another thing in his favor: He uses a cross-handed grip, which sets his shoulders more level and puts his left arm in a dominant position. That promotes a rocking motion of the shoulders and, again, a square face back and through. Rocking the shoulders causes the putterhead to come up after contact (right) and the ball to roll beautifully right off the club. Short putts are all about the face—and Webb's a great player to watch.
There's a stat on tour called average distance of putts made, which adds up how many feet of putts a player makes per round. Webb Simpson leads at 88 feet. (Brent Geiberger's first round of the 2006 Booz Allen Classic has to be the best putting day of the past 10 years. He made 240 feet, four inches of putts, including a 74-footer and others from 50, 45 and 31 feet—and shot even par!) As for the best average, I'm not surprised Webb is leading. I watched him play at Wake Forest on the same team as my son Matt. Webb had a knack for holing long putts, which came from a sharp eye for reading greens and an equally good feel for distance. That's a killer combo on long putts.