Watch the Ryder Cup closely – you never know what it could do for your game

Golf Tips

Why do we see more key putts holed at the Ryder Cup than regular tour events? The Lost Art of Putting co-author Gary Nicol has an idea

With the Ryder Cup only a couple of days away, golfers and golf fans around the world are turning their attention to what will happen at Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris.

In what has become one of the world’s premier sporting events, the Ryder Cup offers golf fans a totally different viewing experience to the week-to-week events we normally see on our screens.

From the opening tee shot to the winning putt we will be treated to drama and excitement, thrills and spills, highs and lows, ebbs and flows. We will all experience so many different emotions regardless of whether we are supporting Team Europe or Team USA.

Booming drives, towering iron shots, short game mastery, and putts holed from all over the place. I have no doubt we will be treated to some of the best golf from some of the best players on the planet.

Since 1983, when Europe lost to the USA at Palm Beach Gardens by a single point, these matches have been very closely contested. Thankfully from a European perspective, we have come out on top more often than not. Have our guys outplayed our opponents from across the pond? Probably not. Have our guys outscored them? Most definitely yes.

So if we haven’t outplayed them but we have outscored them, what has been the difference? I don’t have access to all the relevant statistics but it doesn’t take a genius – thankfully! – to figure out that the main difference has to be on the greens.

Essentially, over the last 16 or 17 Ryder Cups, the European teams have quite simply holed more putts. I’m not suggesting we are about to witness a putting competition over the three days. There will of course be some supreme ball striking from tees and fairways but think about your strongest memories of this great event.

Do you remember high fives and fist pumps from players on tees or fairways? Unlikely. The real drama tends to happen at the end of a golf hole at this level rather than the start of it. Let’s face it, both teams are full to the brim with ball strikers. Stand on the range at any tour event on any given week and you’d be hard pushed to pick a winner such is their ability to hit the ball with incredible power and accuracy.

This week will be no different.

Ryder Cup Shipnuck

While no sane person would or could guarantee a win for either side, one thing we can be guaranteed is that you will see more vital putts holed than at virtually any other event on the golfing calendar.

Why is that? My take is that in the heat of the battle, these great players forget all about technique and rely on their instincts and the skills they have spent a lifetime working on.

All technical thoughts will be left on the practice putting green and once out on the golf course they will trust what they have worked on tirelessly in order to get their golf ball rolling on the right line at the right pace. Their green reading skills will be out to the test. Their visualisation skills will be at their sharpest. Their attention will be on getting the job done. They will be asking the right questions.

Is it possible for the ball to hole any given putt and what does that ball need to do to go in the hole?

Ultimately, their belief in their ability to perform on the big stage, their attitude and the story they carry about their ability to hole putts at vital moments will determine whether they win or lose as teams or individuals.

All these skills are ones that all 24 players have developed and personalised and made their own. Skills that are highlighted and discussed in depth in The Lost Art Of Putting.

If the Ryder Cup inspires you to become the best possible putter you can be, then do yourself a favour and get a copy of this highly acclaimed book which continues to enable and empower golfers around the world to hole more putts, shoot lower scores and have more fun on the golf course.

The Lost Art of Putting

The Lost Art of Putting, by Karl Morris and Gary Nicol and featuring a foreword from 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, is available in hardback and for Kindle from Amazon in the UK and US.

You can also follow The Lost Art of Putting on Twitter and Facebook.

About the authors

Gary Nicol turned professional in 1988. Since then, he has travelled the world coaching golfers of all standards from weekend players to tour tour pros including Ryder Cup stars, Olympians, and major champions. Gary is a certified TrackMan Master and Mind Factor coach and is based at Archerfield on Scotland’s Golf Coast. You can visit Gary’s website and follow him on Twitter.

Karl Morris has been involved in performance coaching for more than 30 years. In that time he has worked with multiple major champions in golf, Ashes-winning captains in cricket, as well as Premier League and international footballers. His passion has always been to make mental game coaching both practical and applicable. You can visit Karl’s website and follow him on Twitter.

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