After Paul Azinger holed a shot from the greenside bunker at 18
to win the 1993 Memorial, the trap became known as the Azinger
Bunker. Likewise, the bunker abutting the right side of the
par-5 15th should herewith be called the Furyk Bunker in honor
of Jim Furyk's hole out from there on Sunday. Having birdied 14
to tie for the lead with David Peoples at 12 under, Furyk
short-sided his three-wood second shot at 15 into the bunker.
Furyk's lie was so difficult, he said, "I would've been happy to
get the ball to within 10 feet." Using a 60-degree lob wedge,
Furyk shifted his weight toward the target and nipped the ball
perfectly (above left). It landed 15 feet short of the flagstick
and rolled in for eagle (above right). Furyk then birdied 16 and
coasted to a two-shot victory over John Cook and Peoples.
Not only did 45-year-old Nick Price's recent victory at the
Colonial prove that you don't have to have pimples to win on
Tour, but his win also must have lit a fire under some of his
peers. Three fortysomethings finished in the top four at the
Memorial: Cook, 44, birdied three of the last seven holes to tie
for second; Peoples, 42, also tied for second after briefly
leading on the back nine on Sunday; and Bob Tway, 43, led after
three rounds and tied for fourth.
I was pulling for Peoples because he was a good friend during my
three-year stint on Tour, from 1987 through '89. We played
practice rounds and ate together, and back home in Orlando we
often teamed up in tennis against two other pros, Roy Biancalana
and Steve Lowery. Peeps and I lost our Tour cards several times.
I finally gave up in 1990 and began teaching, but he persevered.
Peeps never finished higher than 169th on the money list from
1995 through '99. "Things got so low, I seriously considered
quitting and getting a job in the real world," he says. With the
$395,000 he won on Sunday, he's 25th in earnings and a lock to
keep his card. Peeps never quit, and while I'm thrilled for my
buddy, his rejuvenation makes me wonder where I'd be if I'd had
Bender, 45, runs the Mike Bender Golf Academy at Timacuan Golf
Club in Lake Mary, Fla., and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100
The two keys to executing a high, soft bunker shot are setting
up with your upper body shifted toward the target and releasing
the club so the clubhead passes ahead of your hands as it moves
through the impact zone.
At address (1), notice my wide stance. (This shot requires the
widest stance of any in the game.) My hands are slightly behind
the clubhead, the club face is very open and, most important, my
torso is tilted toward the target. This shot requires the full,
normal backswing you'd use when hitting a shot from the tee or
the fairway. Avoid the common mistakes of shifting your weight
to the right side and pushing the club to the outside of the
standard swing path. Remembering to maintain your weight shift
toward the target, contact the sand right behind the ball while
accelerating the clubhead with lots of speed through the impact
zone and releasing the club. This motion feels like throwing an
underhand softball pitch. Just after impact (2), the club face
should be parallel to the ground--imagine balancing a wine glass
on the face--and all of your weight should be over your left leg.