Aussie Vet Improves Putting by Closing Eyes

Tour golfers putting with their eyes closed isn't a new thing. It's been done before — Suzann Pettersen was doing it a few years ago on the LPGA Tour. But the practice is rare enough that it gets noticed when someone else tries it.

That someone else this month is Australian veteran Peter O'Malley, who started putting with his eyes closed in practice as a way of dealing with the yips.

O'Malley only does it on short putts, and it felt good enough in practice to take it into tournament play.

"I've tried different grips and all sorts of different things but I started practising with my eyes closed to get some good feel," O'Malley told the Web site sportal.com.au, "and then I thought I'd just try it on the short putts just to take away a bit of the visual anxiety."

He'll probably be sticking with it for a while, too, since O'Malley won last week's New South Wales Open, his first victory in five years.

O'Malley guessed that most of his peers have tried eyes-closed putting in practice, but few have tried it during tournament play.

A few years ago I asked several teaching pros to comment on the method, and they agreed that recreational golfers putting with closed eyes during a round is not a good idea. Most of us are bad enough when we can actually see the ball! But closing your eyes during practice can be helpful.

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