The 36-year-old Spaniard reveals three of the key secrets to his enviable short game.
GP: How did you develop such a sharp short game?
PL: Competitive practice growing up. I got good at chipping fast when I was a kid because there were many good players at my club and we spent a lot of time at the chipping area. I lost lots of money! Being competitive in practice will make you better under pressure.
GP: How do you visualise the shot you need to hit?
PL: Creativity is key. You have to create shots and see the ball rolling or pitching and stopping the way you want. It’s all about seeing it. You can play the same shot with three or four different clubs, so you have to feel what you’re most confident with.
GP: How aggressive are you with your shot selection and expectations around the green?
PL: I think about the percentage for success with each of the clubs I could use and that tells me what to do – high or low, release or spinny, sand wedge or 9-iron. Go with the shot that gives the highest percentage. It can be better to leave a 12-foot putt than risk too much.
GP: Some of that must be gut instinct?
PL: Chipping is all about sensation and what you feel in that moment. Sometimes you arrive at a tough shot and you go for it because you instantly feel it and you’re confident. When you feel good, you have more percentage of doing it right. Trust your gut instinct.