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Closed Eyes, Open Throttle

Lexi Thompson

SINGAPORE | It was at last November’s CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., that Lexi Thompson retired to the putting green with a headful of ideas. Her putting had been “You’ve no idea how bad” and her father and her caddie had advised a bit of experimenting.

She tried an interlocking grip; she tried looking at the hole as she putted; she switched from a wide grip on her putter to narrow; she putted with her feet almost together; and then she altered the position of the ball in her stance. Finally, she closed her eyes, not so much to pray but by way of a last-ditch attempt.

That was when father and caddie cried “Eureka!” or the equivalent thereof.

“What they liked,” said Thompson, who had a six-shot victory in Thailand ahead of last week’s HSBC Women’s Champions, “was that the moment I started putting with my eyes closed, I was using an in-to-in stroke.” What she herself liked about the method was the degree of feel involved. ”I’ve always been a feel player, never too technical,” she explained.

Karrie Webb, when she played alongside Thompson in the recent Women’s Australian Open, said she hadn’t even noticed that Thompson was mostly putting with her eyes shut. “Courageous is what I’d call it,” laughed Webb.



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