Bob Burns won the Disney Classic thanks to mental toughness and a
pressure-proof swing. During the third round the par-5 14th hole
clearly messed with Burns's mind when he hit an overly aggressive
second shot into the water and made bogey. But on Sunday, with
Tiger Woods in hot pursuit, Burns laid up smartly with a
precisely played mid-iron--"Most improved," he joked loudly enough
for TV microphones to hear--and then hit another solid approach
into the green (left), setting up a pivotal birdie. On both shots
Burns made controlled, confident swings, and he clinched the
victory at 18 with another beautifully executed approach shot.
Burns's strong fundamentals, particularly a sweet downswing,
allowed him to overcome the mental challenge of winning his first
A REAL SMOOTHIE?:In winning the World Match Play Championship,
Ernie Els capped a fantastic year, which included a British Open
title and a win at Doral. But how close is he, really, to Woods?
Els is just two spots behind his rival in the World Ranking but
127 places back in the PGA Tour's greens-in-regulation stat.
After having worked with Els for most of the '90s, I know how
well his silky action disguises his flaws, but the numbers don't
lie. Despite this year's successes, Els's swing is still a work
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE:I've just returned from a visit to Russia,
which has only two golf courses--Nick Faldo is currently building
a third--and about 200 homegrown golfers. Trust me, the one
million barrels of oil a day the country has agreed to sell to
the U.S. will hit American shores long before any Russian golfers
reach the PGA Tour.
INFORMATION AGE:One of the most significant changes in golf over
the last decade is the depth of talent among instructors. You can
now get a good lesson at almost any course in America, thanks to
improvements in video and computer technology and the pervasive
influence of the Golf Channel. This filtering down of information
has had as much impact as new ball and club technology in
contributing to the record low scores we're seeing at all levels
of the game.
October 28, 2002
Robert Baker, who is based in Miami Beach, is the creator of
Logical Golf and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 teachers.
THE START of the downswing is the key to accurate shot making,
especially under pressure. The most common mistake golfers make
is to fire the right hip and right knee too early, leaving the
club out of position (NO). The bedrock of a proper downswing is
providing a stable base by sliding the left knee above the toes
of the left foot. This allows you to unwind the shoulders and
feel as if you're throwing the clubhead through the ball (Yes),
chasing with the right hip. To improve your first move down, rest
a club across your shoulders and cross your arms, holding it in
place (THE DRILL). Make a normal shoulder turn. As you begin to
uncoil, your weight shifts to the left, while your right side