Big Play Tiger Woods's escape from the fescue at 16, one of his many clutch recoveries last week, showed how far he has come since his first Open

June 23, 2002

Watching Tiger Woods rip shots out of Bethpage Black's knee-deep
fescue rough illustrated to me how much more dynamic his game
has become, and these saves were a reminder of his physical
advantage over other players. At the 1995 U.S. Open, at
Shinnecock Hills, Woods was a frail, 145-pound teenager who
walked off the course midway through the second round after
badly twisting his left wrist while chopping a ball out of the
fescue. Now Woods is a 185-pound specimen with "shoulders that
are four-feet wide," as Johnny Miller said. That strength,
coupled with unmatched skill, made Woods one of the handful of
pros even to attempt full shots from Bethpage's cabbage, and the
only guy to consistently pull them off.

SWEET 16 After hooking his drive into the fescue at 16 on
Sunday, Woods was 160 yards out with a nasty lie. He took dead
aim at the flagstick with a nine-iron (left), landing his ball
just short of the green in a bunker, a safe spot that took
double bogey out of play. The shot wasn't flashy enough to make
SportsCenter, but it was as impressive a swing as Woods made all
week.

DA MAN People who say Woods dominates because he doesn't have
top-shelf competition are in denial. If you could transport him
to the bygone eras of Jones-Hagen-Sarazen, Hogan-Snead-Nelson
and Nicklaus-Palmer-Player-Watson, Woods would likely reduce
those icons to also-ran status, just as he has the Duvals and
Mickelsons and Garcias of his day. Woods is that awesome.

FATHER KNOWS BEST Johnny Miller has always taken heat for
putting his family above his playing career, but I have long
respected him for having his priorities straight. In 1991 I
spent a day with Johnny and his four sons on the golf course,
and I'll never forget how he doted on the boys, and the
affection they returned. The wisdom behind Dad's devotion was
confirmed for me on Sunday--Father's Day--when I heard the pride
in Johnny's voice on NBC as he called his son Andy's ace at
Bethpage's 3rd hole.

T.J. Tomasi is the director of instruction at Pistol Creek Golf
Club in Berlin, Conn., and one of Golf Magazine's Top 100
teachers.

FOUR COLOR PHOTOS: NBC COLOR PHOTO: JUNE TOMASI 1 COLOR PHOTO: JUNE TOMASI 2

THE TIP

You need strength and swing speed when playing from the deep
rough, but you also need good technique. The keys are to make a
full backswing while keeping a quiet lower body (1) and to keep
the right arm below the left during impact and follow-through
(2). Here are some other things to remember:

PRESHOT Increase grip pressure, position the ball two inches
back from normal and take a few practice swings to find the
perfect descent angle to the ball--somewhere between a standard
swing and a vertical downward chop. Practice swings also help in
gauging the grass's resistance.

SWING Hit mainly with the strong big muscles (back and legs),
not the weak small muscles (arms and hands). Avoid severely
chopping down on the ball by keeping your chest rotating through
impact.

GOALS Too many golfers go for broke when a play back to the
fairway is no sure thing. My golden rule when playing from the
gunch: Avoid having to recover from a recovery shot.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)