The Loop

Poor putting dooms Garcia, Els in Dubai

February 04, 2008

Amid a two-year global winless streak, Sergio Garcia enters his 10th year on the world stage facing more questions than answers about his erratic putting. The Spaniard, who turned 28 in January, began the season in Qatar using a left-hand-low grip with a conventional putter. Last week at the Dubai Desert Classic he went back to the belly putter and used a claw grip Sunday. That's two putters and four grips (conventional, left-hand low, split and belly claw) in two tournaments. And we're only one month into the season.

Bob Rotella, the sport psychologist who has spent time counseling Ernie Els, believes the Big Easy will get over Dubai the way he has a decade's worth of disappointments at Woods' hand. ''The great ones can't wait to get back on the horse'' Rotella said.''Basically, Ernie missed a few putts early on the back nine, and Tiger made a couple coming in. That's what the game comes down to.''As if he'd been talking to Rotella, a resolute Els rationalized it on his website the same way, saying he was headed to Delhi to work on his stroke before this week's Indian Masters.

--Tim Rosaforte