Big Play with Craig Shankland

May 07, 2006

WHO: ChrisCouch

WHAT: 20-yardchip-in for par

WHERE: 471-yardpar-4 18th hole at English Turn

WHEN: Final roundof the Zurich Classic

WHY
Couch has guts. When he came down with the short-game yips, he wasn't afraid totry a cross-handed grip. Couch has always done what works, not what looks good,which is why he still plays with an unconventional head dip when he hits hisirons. After two poor short shots at 17 Couch might've been tempted to try astandard grip on 18, where he played from the sand and then the rough, but hestuck to his guns and it worked.

CRAIG'S TIP
Chip Yips Rx: Left Hand Low

A cross-handedgrip is a great way to cure the chip yips. It helps keep the lead hand firm andpulls the club through impact toward the target for a great finish. To gocross-handed, use a normal chip setup: a little extra weight over the leadfoot, ball in the middle of the stance and the shaft leaning a bit forward.Also, use a 10-finger grip so that your hands remain stable.

Craig Shanklandteaches at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.

... AND ANOTHERTHING

"I don'tthink Greg Norman is as injured as he says he is. He's too busy off the courseand doesn't care as much about competing anymore."

The Pepper Mill

[ by DOTTIE PEPPER ]

KUDOS, DAKODA You have to admire the way 13-year-oldDakoda Dowd (left), facing the probable death of her mother, Kelly Jo, frombreast, bone and liver cancer, dealt with the nonstop barrage from the media atthe Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open. She answered tough questions, even the onesabout her mom, with honesty and heart. She wondered aloud why women cry whenthey are happy, then brought a lot of people to tears by playing 36 courageousholes (she went 74--82 and missed the cut) that linked a mother's dream and adaughter's love.

UNEQUAL TREATMENT Dakoda's wonderful story could havebecome a sticky situation for the LPGA. Tour regulations state that if anonmember shoots 88 or higher the player must either withdraw or bedisqualified. Commissioner Carolyn Bivens suspended Rule 88 for Dowd, but thetournament also extended an exemption to amateur Andia Winslow, 23, the nieceof NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (left). Rule 88 was not waived for Winslow,who shot 86--80. What if Dowd and Winslow both shot 89? Dakoda may have aheartwarming story, but professional golf is still a competition, and therewere 144 other people in the field who were being held to performanceguidelines. Let's not forget that.

SHORTS SHRIFT Last fall there was talk of a dress codeon the LPGA tour. Perhaps it should not apply only to players. Bivens woreshorts to the Ginn Open on April 26--not exactly executive attire and certainlynot what the PGA Tour's Tim Finchem would wear to work.

ANNIKA'S HICCUP Holding the 54-hole lead, AnnikaSorenstam (right) shot a 75 at the Florida's Natural Charity Championship.She's down 5% in greens hit and 14% in fairways from 2005, and her percentageof sand saves (43%) is atrocious by any standard. Annika's wavering play andthe late-round loss in Atlanta has energized her rivals. If she doesn'timprove, look for her dominance to end.

Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour andan analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel, welcomes questions atdottie@siletters.com.

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Is left-hand-low chipping for everyone or only forthose in need of a last-gasp fix?

For everyone ...27%

Last-gasp fix ...73%

"The grip is for nobody on this planet. If you useit, you should quit because the game is too hard for you."

--JIM SUTTIE
COG HILL GOLF CLUB

NINE PHOTOSCOURTESY OF CBS (COUCH); CHUCK SOLOMON (BACKGROUND); ERICK W. RASCO (SHANKLAND, 2); DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER, COUCH BOTTOM); DARREN CARROLL (DOWD); PHELAN M. EBENHACK/AP (WINSLOW); GRANT HALVERSON/WIREIMAGE.COM (SORENSTAM)

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)