Date: December 01, 2010
Author: Steve Orme, Sportal

O’Malley to putt with eyes shut

Peter O&aposMalley has played the revamped Lakes layout so many times he could do it with his eyes closed – and that&aposs exactly what he plans to do at this week&aposs Australian Open presented by Century 21. The likable veteran and long-time member at The Lakes has been renowned as one of the premier ball strikers in world golf since entering the professional ranks in 1987. While he is lethal with a 3-iron in his hands, the New South Welshman has battled the putting yips for the best part of two decades. But after experimenting with various methods on the greens over the years O&aposMalley believes he&aposs finally found the answer to his putting woes. “I&aposve tried different grips and all sorts of different things but I started practising with my eyes closed to get some good feel and then I thought I&aposd just try it on the short putts just to take away a bit of the visual anxiety,” O&aposMalley revealed on Wednesday. “I can still miss putts but it feels a little bit better anyway.” “Long-range (putts) have never been an issue for me. I&aposve always putted pretty well. But just the short-range sort of stuff from probably five foot in I just close my eyes and just try and keep my head still and listen for it to go in.” Although a little extreme, it&aposs hard to argue with the 45-year-old&aposs method after he ended a five-year drought with a victory at last week&aposs NSW Open. Asked how long he&aposs been putting in the dark, O&aposMalley replied: “I started probably a couple of months ago but I haven&apost really played a lot of tournaments. I&aposve only probably played half a dozen tournaments doing it, so the first time committing to it was pretty tough but then you just say &aposok it can&apost be any worse so I&aposll just keep persevering with it&apos.” “I made a couple of good putts (on Sunday at the NSW Open), I missed one at 16 but at 15 I made a good putt for par which really kept me going, so yeah, it&aposs just something I&aposm trying so I&aposll keep it going this week hopefully.” “I&aposd say most guys out here have practised doing it at some stage, how many guys have actually done it in tournament play it probably wouldn&apost be that many.” O&aposMalley, who finished 192nd on the European Tour money list this season, added of his chances this week: “Obviously I would have preferred the course to be a little bit firmer but I&aposm a member out here.” “You do need a lot of local knowledge on these greens so apart from Peter Lonard, and he&aposs not playing, I&aposve probably played this course more than anyone else in the field which for me is a great advantage.” “I would have liked to have seen some better weather but I still feel pretty confident.”