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'One-Armed Bandit' earns European Tour card

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The “One-Armed Bandit” is coming to a European Tour event near you.

Jason Palmer, a fifth-year pro from England, finished 1-2 in back-to-back events during the Challenge Tour’s Final Swing to earn a spot on the big tour in 2015. One of 15 graduates, he has earned more than $130,000 this year on the developmental circuit. 

So, what makes his story unique?

Well, in 2010, while playing on the Alps Tour, Palmer thought he had hit rock bottom. He had the short-game yips. Every time he missed a green he made bogey, or worse, with chips that were fat, thin or double-hit. During a short-game contest, his friend convinced him to play every shot inside 50 yards with just one hand.  

“I haven’t looked back since, to be honest,” he said after securing his card.

Palmer, 30, swings normally on every shot longer than 50 yards and from the bunker, then uses only his right hand as he gets closer to the green. He has “more touch and feel” with the one-armed action, which relieves all of the tension in his arms. He is now ranked No. 266 in the world.

“It certainly takes a few guys by surprise,” he told the BBC. “Particularly at first when nobody knew about it. I find it worse in pro-ams as I feel like the amateurs think I’m not taking it seriously. These days I pre-warn my playing partners that I’m about to chip with one hand.”