My so-called putting stroke is going through a bout of focal dystonia and performance anxiety, or, what is more commonly known to us victims as "the %$#&% yips."
The fancy diagnosis came from a Mayo Clinic study. There has also been an extensive study done in Germany. Basically what they found out was that, well, I'm not sure, except that it is an uncontrolled movement of the hand or wrist during the stroke which makes you feel like a fool, which I could have told them and saved them some time.
Someone pointed out that Ben Hogan had the yips. So did Sam Snead. Tom Watson. Bernhard Langer. Mark O'Meara. Vijay Singh has them but won't admit it. So that's supposed to be some kind of consolation for ol' Three Putt here?
As the book title says, Haney believes he can cure the yips and claims he has done it many times. So far, it's not working, but I put more faith in him than I do with most, which is not a lot, because he knows how it feels. He had driver yips for 20 years, so bad he lost a sleeve of balls every hole. That's what he said. Apparently, a manufacturer was shipping them to him free, by the gross. Fortunately, he found a cure before we had a major golf ball shortage.
I asked Dave Stockton, the latest putting guru in a growing line of them, if he could cure the yips. Sure, he said, in minutes. But he didn't say how and I had heard he charges an awful lot for a lesson so I didn't ask. And, between you and me, I have to wonder if a man who was one of the best putters of his time on the tour knows what a yip feels like.
What does it feel like?
Well, if you were bent over a putt and somebody came up behind you and goosed you, yeah, that's about how it feels.
Cure that, Hank Haney.