O'Meara uses 'saw' grip to revive career

The Skins Game may be a frivolous piece of nonsense to entertain on America's Thanksgiving weekend but until yesterday, Mark O'Meara's victory in the event in 2002 was the only trophy he had gained since his magical Indian summer renaissance of 1998 when he won the Masters and the Open Championship.

But it was what happened at last November's Skins Game that helped bring about his win in the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday. O'Meara left having earned not a dollar, nor a cent. He finished fourth out of four in an event where Annika Sorenstam was the runner-up to Fred Couples.

O'Meara, one of the best putters of his generation, could not hole anything. Desperate measures were required and his coach, Hank Haney, suggested something he had seen on a trip to Germany. It was a variation of the "claw" grip used by Chris DiMarco and others. O'Meara calls it "the Saw". With the fingers of the right hand on top of the shaft and the thumb under it, the opposite of the natural grip, O'Meara was able to lock the right wrist as when using a saw.

On the perfect greens of the Middle East, O'Meara's confidence soared and he beat Paul McGinley by a stroke. "He putted the lights out for the first two days to keep himself in it," said McGinley, who played alongside the American on all four days. "Then on the weekend he started to play really well."

"We're going to have to get some copyrights sorted out," the 47-year-old O'Meara said. "Trust me, it works. It has certainly rejuvenated my career. I was definitely a little nervous on the 18th green but I hit a lot of great putts under pressure on the closing holes."

Tiger Woods, who was introduced to Dubai by O'Meara, probably left happier at seeing his close friend win than after he lost to Thomas Bjorn in 2001. "Mark needed to feel he could release the blade and build the consistency you need," said Woods, who is not tempted to follow suit. "You know, I've tried all these things but they don't work for me. But then I'm pretty happy with how I putt."

Whether the world No 1 is entirely happy with his form from tee to green remains a matter for his private thoughts rather than his public utterances. But a fifth-place finish added to victory at the Accenture World Matchplay gave him confidence for an important run to come, culminating in the Masters at Augusta next month.

"I've finished in the top-10 in every tournament this year so it's looking good," he said. His next outing is at the Bay Hill Invitational, where he could create history by winning for a fifth successive year. "I'm going home to get some rest for a few days and then I'll start gearing up," Woods said.

* In Miami, Australia's Craig Parry played the shot of the year to win a play-off at the Ford Championship. Parry holed a six-iron from 176 yards at the first extra hole, the par-four 18th, to claim an eagle and beat the American Scott Verplank.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific