Big Play Darren Clarke holed a masterly chip with his three-wood to survive the Monster--Firestone's 16th hole--and set up his victory at the NEC Invitational

August 31, 2003

Close to a half-mile in length, the 667-yard, par-5 16th at
Firestone is the longest hole on the PGA Tour. During the NEC
Invitational, the aptly named Monster played to an average of
.388 of a stroke over par, making it the toughest three-shotter
on Tour. Hal Sutton made a 10 on the hole on Sunday, Masters
champ Mike Weir had a snowman there in the second round, and it
took every bit of Clarke's imagination around the greens to par
the beast during his pivotal third round. After finding a bunker
off the tee, the cigar-chomping Clarke needed three more shots to
reach the green's fringe, where his ball nestled against the
collar of the rough. Facing a delicate 12-foot chip, Clarke
cleverly bunted a three-wood. His ball made a little hop before
running straight into the hole. The crucial par save propelled
Clarke to the 54-hole lead, and on Sunday he chipped and putted
his way to one of the biggest victories of his career.

THREE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CBS COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT Brad Redding, the director of instruction at Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale, Pa., is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. FOUR COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: ANDREW GOMBERT/JIM GUND (BACKGROUND)

OUR TOP TEACHER SAYS...

"European tour players are at least five years behind their PGA
Tour counterparts in swing technique, which explains the long
slumps that have beset so many of them."

"Jim Furyk's consistency--he has 14 top 10 finishes in 21
starts--is more important than his number of wins (two), and
it's why I think he should win the player of the year award."

"Phil Mickelson's uninspired play this year has been the biggest
disappointment of the season. Mickelson is not only winless, but
he has also fallen from second to 10th in the World Ranking."

"Gary Player says some nutty things, but his recent claim that
he would have won 16 majors with Ernie Els's body is like me
saying that if I had Michael Jordan's height, I'd be a star in
the NBA. The 5'7" Player's Napoleon complex is what drove him to
win nine majors. He might have been a dud at 6'3"."

THE TIP
CHIPPING WITH A FAIRWAY WOOD

A Fairway Wood is not only for long shots. When used around the
green--especially when the ball is up against the collar of the
rough--a wood can also become your stealth weapon, eliminating
chili dips and skulls.

1 Take a slightly open stance, with the ball and the hands
forward. (Note that the inside of the left forearm is turned up,
with the left elbow pointing to the left hip and the left wrist
bowed toward the target.)

2 The address position promotes a low, sweeping backswing.

3 Maintain the position of the left wrist and forearm through
impact. The wide sole of the wood will not get caught in the
grass the way an iron might.

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)