Big Play

June 06, 2004

Laird Small is the director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy in
Pebble Beach, Calif., and a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.

David Toms, a rarity because he's not afraid to work the ball
under pressure, cut a crucial approach over water to maintain his
momentum at the FedEx

ANALYSIS

EVERY PGA TOUR pro can shape his shots in both directions, but
under pressure most guys rely on a draw or a fade. David Toms is
an exception. He's as comfortable and adept at hitting a shot
from right to left as he is from left to right. Toms's artistic
style is risky because it requires more trust in your own
ability, but the payoff can be huge, as it was after he drove
into the water at 12 on Sunday. He had just bogeyed 11 and needed
to stop the bleeding. He did that by cutting a wedge shot that
stopped 15 feet from the cup and saved bogey.

THE TIP

Catch the Rain To Hit a Draw

CORRECTLY ROTATING the left forearm is the key to hitting a draw
because the left arm controls the clubface. After making your
normal backswing, the left forearm should begin rotating and
continue doing so down through impact. If you rotate correctly,
the left palm will point up to the sky--as if you're catching
raindrops--at the halfway point of the follow-through (left and
inset).

AND ANOTHER THING ...

"MOST OF David Leadbetter's pupils swing a certain way, but David
Duval isn't one of them. Leadbetter will have to change his style
to be successful with Duval."

"SLUMPS ARE overrated. All great golfers have down cycles, but
what sets them apart is their preternatural ability to bounce
back and play better than they did before the downturn."

"SERGIO GARCIA'S swing changes are great, but he won't be a real
star until he's a consistently hot putter and learns to will the
ball into the hole at crunch time."

COLOR PHOTO: ERICK W. RASCO (SMALL, 3) COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY CBS (TOMS) COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND (BACKGROUND) COLOR PHOTO Catch the Rain

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)