The Loop

O'Malley wins with his eyes closed

December 01, 2010

The yips are debilitating, and the desperate among those afflicted are open to all manner of suggested remedies. Australian Peter O'Malley is one such victim, who won the NSW Open in Australia last week putting with his eyes closed.

This isn't a new idea -- Johnny Miller won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1994 by putting with his eyes closed, among other means of tricking his mind that week. Still it's interesting any time we hear of a tour pro doing so in competition and doing so successfully.

"I've tried different grips and all sorts of different things, but I started practicing with my eyes closed to get some good feel and then I thought I'd just try it on the short putts just to take away a bit of the visual anxiety," O'Malley told reporters on the eve of the Australian Open. "I can still miss putts but it feels a little bit better.

"I've only probably played half a dozen tournaments doing it, so the first time committing to it was pretty tough. But then you just say, 'OK, it can't be any worse so I'll just keep persevering with it.'"

-- John Strege