I received a huge response to my last article about the belly putter. The responses ranged from "can I come take lessons?" to outrage that I would endorse a club that one reader felt violated the integrity of the game. I quickly explained I don't make the rules, merely operate within them.
Next topic — Johnson Wagner is off to a fast start. A win in Hawaii and tie for second at The Hope, oh excuse me, The Humana.
It has to stay as The Hope in my mind. First, I loved Bob, and second, I hate insurance companies. Back to Wagner — he is coached by a fellow named Bobby Heins. Heins is a coach who I have known from the Metropolitan Section (N.Y.) for over 20 years.
Bobby does not coach with a video camera strapped to his hand or with some highly marketed swing theory. Bobby coaches old-school fundamentals. He teaches tried and true cause and effect.
Bobby is a motivator, a believer in short game and hard work.
Bobby brought Johnson Wagner out to Friar's Head (my summer home) last summer. As I would expect, Wagner was a polite and humble young man. You see, Bobby would not associate with anyone other than that.
We need many more Bobby Heinses and Johnson Wagners in this world. Oh and one other thing: Bobby Heins is a heck of a player. It's nice to see a teacher who can back up what he suggests. I'm not saying a teacher has to be Jack Nicklaus, but I do think you should be able — within reason — to demonstrate any skill or action you ask a student to do. I do not buy into the adage that those who can't play, teach. That doesn't fly here.
By the way, Bobby putts with a long putter. Congrats to Johnson and Bobby. Keep it going guys!
Tiger heads for Abu Dhabi this week for his 2012 season debut against a strong European field. Yes, I realize he won at Sherwood during the silly season, but that was against a very small field. This week will give us a pretty strong view of the state of his game going into 2012. Augusta is 11 weeks and counting.
Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.