Stewart Cink has admitted that ditching belly putter paved the way for his first major. The Open champion has revealed that his putting problems – which began late last season – also affected the rest of his game and that he needed to acquire a new mental approach.
Speaking after his victory at Turnberry the 36-year-old said his results during the latter part of 2008 and then the early months of this year were mediocre.
"The second half of last season really stunk for me. Then I didn't play great at the start of this year. So I took some time off and when I came back at the Players Championship at Sawgrass, I made the half-way cut but then shot 77 on the Saturday.
"I said to myself:‘Whatever I’m doing isn't working'. I was putting poorly and when that happens, it affects every part of my game so decided to totally overhaul my putting."
Immediately he ditched the long putter he'd been using and went back to a putter of a traditional length - a Nike prototype currently also being used by Paul Casey.
"I needed to change my mental outlook too. My pre-shot routine wasn't working, so I needed something more regimented that I could lean on under pressure. If I stayed with the long putter it would be easy for me to fall back into the old warm and fuzzy feelings. So I decided to scrap everything and start over."
Though he's constantly tinkering with his golf swing he said he didn't change it too much and almost immediately saw results with an 8th place finish in The Memorial at Muirfield Village his best strokeplay finish since July 2008.
"When I started putting better at the Colonial, the Memorial and then the US Open, the confidence started coming back and I actually believed I could win The Open, starting out on Sunday. I trusted myself I would be able to transform myself into a new type of golfer and I guess that transformation is now complete."
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Putters: How Cink switched to success