SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - If proof was ever needed for the average club hacker that even the very best players can struggle in golf, then look no further than at putting maestro Brandt Snedeker.
Widely viewed as one of the game’s leading putters over the past eight years, the fast-talking American has recently been struggling on the greens after clouding his mind with too much focus on technique.
A six-times winner on the PGA Tour, Snedeker has not triumphed on the U.S. circuit since the 2013 RBC Canadian Open and he fell short of his customary high standards last season when he made 20 of 25 cuts but posted only three top-10s.
“Obviously my game hasn’t been anywhere near where it needs to be,” the fast-talking American told Reuters at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where he is playing his fifth event of the 2014-15 season.
“But I feel like after making a change last year to (swing coach) Butch Harmon that my game is a lot better now than it has been for the last year-and-a-half. The thing that has been holding me back is my putting, I haven’t been putting any good.
“I kind of made some changes that are really, really starting to come through and I feel like I’m on the right path. I just need to see some (putts) go in. You see some go in and everything changes.”
Snedeker is not only renowned for his extraordinary putting touch but also for his old-style ‘pop’ stroke which is made with minimum of fuss in relatively fast fashion.
However, having long been an ever-present at the top of the PGA Tour’s putting charts, Snedeker has dropped well down the pecking order over the past year mainly due to a fixation with perfect technique.
“I’ve kind of gotten away from what I do and trying to put a perfect stroke on every putt is not the way I putt,” said the 34-year-old from Nashville, who carded a one-under-par 70 in the opening round at the TPC Scottsdale.
“I kind of got too much into that, making sure my stroke is on plane and path and everything is good instead of getting back into reading putts and just hitting them.
“So I’m getting more back into that and seeing some good results and seeing what I want to see out there. I just need to see a couple go in, see a couple go in and it comes right back so I’m not too worried about it.”
Snedeker, who clinched the PGA Tour’s FedExCup title in 2012, led the Tour’s ‘strokes gained over the field’ putting statistic that year and was placed fourth in that area in 2013.
However last year, he dropped to 27th in strokes gained while this season he is surprisingly languishing in 110th spot.
“The putts outside 10 feet will come,” Snedeker said. “Inside 10 feet, I’ve been struggling with those five, six, seven‑footers, which you need obviously to make to shoot a good number.”
Editing by Frank Pingue