Big Play with T.J. Tomasi

April 18, 2004

Phil Mickelson can thank his return to a heel-shafted blade for a
terrific putting week that was highlighted by a pressure-packed
18-footer on the final hole

ANALYSIS

Mickelson recently made the smartest decision of his career, and
it was essential to his Masters triumph: He switched from a
center-shafted, face-balanced putter back to the heel-shafted
blade model that he had used for most of his life. Face-balanced
putters are best for players with pendulum strokes who focus on
mechanics, not feel. Mickelson, a feel putter, swings on an
arc--like a door opening and closing--and a heel-shafted putter
is best for that kind of stroke. If Mickelson keeps his trusty
blade in the bag, he'll drain a lot more putts like his gem at 18
on Sunday and win another major this year.

THE TIP

GO TOE-TO-TOE UNDER PRESSURE

The key to good putting is making a smooth stroke that
accelerates through impact, which is hard to do under pressure.
To cope, try my Toe-to-Toe routine. First, adjust your stance so
that the distance between your feet is the length of your stroke.
Position the ball in the middle of your stance, swing back to the
rear foot and accelerate through to the front foot. This method
is especially helpful for short putts on fast greens.

AND ANOTHER THING...

"Who needs Tiger? This Masters was the most exciting major in
eons."

"Darren Clarke is now the best player never to have won a major."

"The Drop at 11 last Saturday and the one at the '94 U.S. Open
make Ernie Els the beneficiary of the two worst rulings in
history."

"Mark O'Meara is Woods's problem. O'Meara is a great player and
Woods's close friend, but he is not a teacher, which is what
Woods desperately needs."

COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: ANDREW GOMBERT/BACKGROUND (TODD BIGELOW/ AURORA) COLOR PHOTO: ELISE AMENDOLA/AP (MICKELSON)

T.J. Tomasi teaches at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefiled,
Conn., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)