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July 24 2012

4:39 PM

Tip from Travis: Ernie's adjustments

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Ernie Els nailed a 15-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole at Royal Lytham.

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

Not even sure how to go about this week’s blog after watching Adam Scott bogey the last four holes to lose the British Open to Ernie Els. Now, don’t get me wrong, Ernie Els is a very deserving champion, but it’s certainly hard to get over the heartache after watching Adam throw away his chances of winning his first major championship.

It is a tough game ... and that is all that can be said. Even when things are going good for the best players, things can turn around so quickly with this game. Nevertheless, it is Ernie Els that prevails to win his fourth major title of his career. Even Ernie has had his recent struggles with this game, but over the last few months, the Big Easy has found his form, especially with the flatstick.

There is no question the belly putter has made a huge impact on the PGA TOUR. Here we are again: Els scores another major win for the extended putter. It would be interesting if the USGA decides to ban the use of belly putters and what it would mean to players like our previous two major winners: Ernie Els and Webb Simpson.

Like so many others, the belly putter has given Els new life in his career. Although he uses it a bit differently than others, the impact has been much the same. It seems ever since Ernie has moved himself much closer to the ball with a narrow stance, his putting started to improve. Although this stance and distance from the ball is exaggerated, it has simplified his approach with the putter.

The biggest advantage of a belly putter is: With one end anchored, it promotes the putterhead to hit the ball close to the low point of the swing arc and release past the lead wrist. When this occurs, it allows the putter face angle and putterhead path to match up, creating solid impact and sending the ball down the intended target line. For Els, this improvement has led to more confidence, and it showed at Royal Lytham.

Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.

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