YESTERDAY I WAS RUMMAGING through my golf stacks when I ran across a 2005 Golf Digest article on Billy Casper. Recently, I ranked Billy at No. 5 on my list of all-time greatest putters. I believe the three-time major winner had one of the best strokes the game has ever seen.
In the Golf Digest piece, Billy tells an anecdote about a time he played with Ben Hogan. Billy and Fred Hawkins (also splendid with the flatstick) took on Hogan and Dow Finsterwald in a practice round. Well, Billy and Fred got on a roll (pun intended). Hogan was steamed.
“If you two guys couldn’t putt, I’d be buying hot dogs from you on the 10th tee,” Hogan said after watching them hole everything. Then Billy shared what happened the following day.
“The next morning, Mr. Hogan called me over. He looked around to make sure no one was within earshot. Then he whispered, ‘Billy tell me: How do you putt?’”
By then, Hogan was plagued with the yips.
From the same article, a gem from Casper: If your putting sours, practice your chipping. His reasoning: “When you chip, you pay a lot of attention to making the ball roll perfectly end over end. Practicing that will make your putting stroke come back overnight.”
Lastly, a secret to Billy’s greatness on the greens: putting at night. “Putting in the dark is the best thing I ever did for my game,” he said. “You develop a feel for everything. I got more out of those nights on the putting green than I ever did on the practice tee in broad daylight.”
−The Armchair Golfer
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