Bad Break

By Frank ThomasJune 1, 2010, 4:18 pm

Frank,
Thank you for the weekly putting tips they are really starting to help my putting. This last week you discussed uphill vs. downhill breaking putts. I think that reading the green is sometimes difficult enough without the added problem of a downhill or uphill break. Please help me understand this phenomenon. Also I have a friend who I play with frequently who says that I should watch the ball as it passes the hole (that is if I miss it) and putt back along this same line. I don’t think he is right. Can you help me?

– Brian

Brian,

I am glad you are enjoying the weekly putting tips and we are surprised at how many more questions we are getting about putting. Just maybe, golfers are starting to recognize the importance of this part of the game. In the neighborhood of 45 percent of our score, and about 40 percent of the time we spend on the course is on the green. Yet we don’t really practice, nor do we know how to practice our putting.

With regard to your question about breaking uphill putts vs. breaking downhill putts and returning those you missed; first let me advise you that the answer is a lot more complex than it would seem.

I think we all recognize that fast greens break more than slow greens for the same slope. And a downhill breaking putt is similar to a fast green whereas an uphill breaking putt is similar to a slow green, therefore downhill breaking putts will break more than uphill breaking putts.

The reason for this is that a slow green (or uphill putt) requires that the ball must be hit harder, thus it starts off faster and slows down faster than a putt of the same distance on a fast green (or downhill putt), which must be hit more softly and it slows down more slowly, and thus takes more time to reach the hole. The longer a putt takes to reach the hole the more time gravity – pulling it downhill – will have to act.

The ball will take a path similar to a parabolic curve, breaking more at the end than at the beginning. This is due to gravitational forces and the phenomenon known as precession. The slower the ball travels the more it will break. Therefore at the end of the journey the ball will break considerably more than at the beginning. Because a downhill putt is travelling slower it will break 3 or 4 times more than an uphill putt.

Brian, you are right in not putting on the same path back to the hole as the ball took on its way past the hole because short putts do not break as much as long putts, especially if you hit them at the correct speed.

The correct speed for a short (two foot) putt should be hit hard enough to hit the back wall (not the top lip) of the cup and it should be traveling faster than the ball was when it passed the hole on the missed putt. Therefore it will not break as much.

A babied short putt – soft enough to only die in the hole – on a side hill lie will turn as much as 50 degrees as it dies. This is not what you want to do as you will inevitably miss this putt. Hit it with confidence and fast enough to hit the back wall of the cup and don’t aim outside the hole on short putts.

Brian, if you understand how and why putts break you will be a lot better off than watching the last foot or six inches to give you a good indication of what will happen on the next putt.

Frank

Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.