Last Resort
October 02, 2020

Sergio Garcia is putting with his eyes closed at the Sanderson Farms (and it's working)

Early in his second round at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Sergio Garcia could be seen putting with his eyes closed. At first, it felt like a "might as well give it a shot" moment for the 2017 Masters champion. 

Garcia, who has been plagued by a faulty flat stick for two decades, has tried everything from the claw grip to mallet putters to blade putters and beyond. Not much of it has worked, making his resume—10 PGA Tour wins, 16 European Tour victories, a green jacket and an impeccable Ryder Cup record—all the more impressive. His putting woes only further highlight just how elite he is off the tee and with his irons. 

Apparently, Garcia's latest and greatest technique - rolling it with his eyes closed - is not new, at least according to him. Here's what it looked like on his first birdie of the day:

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As you can see, it's working. Garcia finished his round with five birdies, two coming from beyond 10 feet. His four-under 68 has him right in the mix at eight under. After the round, the 40-year-old from Spain claimed he'd been doing it for three years, including during the biggest victory of his career. 

"Usually. I've gone on and off, but like Augusta I won it playing with my eyes closed every single putt and some of the other wins, too," Garcia said on Friday at the Country Club of Jackson. "I've tried -- I feel like it gives me a little more freedom to feel the stroke instead of kind of -- sometimes we get too focused on trying to make it perfect and kind of following with the eyes and everything. So this way I feel like I just feel it and I just let me natural ability kind of take over instead of telling myself what to do.

"Obviously that's what I've been doing, and just trying to keep the stroke very smooth. These greens obviously help because they're very fast, so yeah, I felt like I've hit a lot of good putts. I made a few, I've obviously missed a few, but the feeling overall is very positive."

By the way, Garcia is not the first well-known player to give this unconventional technique a try. Johnny Miller famously putted with his eyes closed for the entire 1994 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which he won for his final victory on the PGA Tour. LPGA pros Lexi Thompson and Suzann Pettersen have employed the eyes closed routine as well, and, like Miller, Thompson won while doing it at the 2016 Honda LPGA Thailand. If Sergio Garcia can win with it this week, every weekend hacker will be glueing their eyelids shut on the course next weekend.