A-Z Putting (X): X Factor

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The X-Factor: These five players had it, and are considered among the best putters of all-time

Brad Faxon

The man who recently advised Rory on his stroke once had the best putting season ever, averaging 1.704 putts per GIR in 2000. When Faxon putts there are no technical thoughts; he creates a picture in his mind and uses that image to tell his body what it needs to do to turn that putt into a reality.

"It's almost like I start my stroke before my eyes get back to the ball", he says.

Rory said Faxon helped him get back to a child's mentality of putting with instinct, instead of getting too technical.

What makes him special: Faxon is a very target-oriented putter, which is one of the reasons Rory, who putts in a similar point- and-shoot style, sought his advice.

Jack Nicklaus

"I'm one of the greatest two-putters," Nicklaus once said of his ability to get the ball in the hole.

But when the chips were down, few were better. He one-putted six of the final nine greens at the 1986 Masters to come from eight shots back to claim his record-setting 18th Major at 46.

What makes him special: Nicklaus had a very repeatable stroke, his head very still, and left arm and shoulder locked; he simply pushed the ball to the hole with his right palm and forearm.

Loren Roberts

Nicknamed 'The Boss of the Moss' in his prime, Roberts' putting stroke was widely envied in the 1980s and 1990s. During 14 years on Tour, Roberts took 56,457 putts in 1,996 career rounds; an average of 28.3. Putter maker Sean Toulon says Roberts is the best he's ever worked with.

What makes him special: Roberts once offered a great visual clue if you're struggling with your putting.

"Your putter's shaft is a pencil, and all you're trying to do is draw a line on the green to your target." Sounds simple enough.

Ben Crenshaw

Crenshaw's lifelong teacher, Harvey Penick, taught the Texan to putt with a smooth, effortless stroke — the perfect mechanics to master even the speediest of greens, especially those at Augusta National, where Crenshaw won twice.

In his 1995 Masters win, Crenshaw didn't three-putt all week on some of trickiest greens in the world.

What makes him special: The secret to great putting, Crenshaw said, was holding the putter so loosely that it allowed the putter head to "drift" behind the hands on the backswing. It was a tip good enough for Tiger Woods, who added: "It loosened up my hands and let the weight of the putter head hit the ball."

Tiger Woods

In his peak, Tiger never missed a must- make putt... or at least that's how it seemed. Here's one stat that sums it up; from 2004 to 2008, Tiger's average distance of putts made (total distance of putts holed during a tournament) was six feet better than the Tour's average... SIX FEET!

What makes him special: Woods' set-up is fundamentally perfect with everything square, especially his forearms and the shaft – it looks like they're part of one, extended line.