Big Play

October 07, 2007

WHO: Mike Weir

WHAT: Nine-iron tee shot to 10 feet

WHERE: 160-yard, par-3 17th hole at Royal Montreal Golf Club

WHEN: Presidents Cup singles match against Tiger Woods

WHY
Weir's exquisite nine-iron could be the spark that reignites his career. To come back against Woods in Canada, and to do it by stuffing his shot inside of Tiger's with water just right of the green, was an alltime pressure play. Weir showed enormous control of grip pressure, keeping his hands soft so he could freely release the club and hit a draw right at the flag. Many guys would stiffen up and hit a snap hook or push fade in that situation.

TOM'S TIP

Lighten Up for Better Ball Striking

To develop the light grip pressure needed for a proper release, hold the club above the ball and then take three half swings without pausing. Be sure to open the club face going back (top) and close it in the follow-through (bottom). Again without pausing, ground the club behind the ball and take a full swing, replicating the opening and closing motions with soft hands.

Tom Patri teaches at Friar's Head in Baiting Hollow, N.Y.

...AND ANOTHER THING

"In 2002 there was one drive over 400 yards on Tour. This year there have been 24. I wonder if the extra distance is only from equipment?"

HOT ITEMS

Last week, the Jeffery B. Ellis Antique Golf Club Collection was sold at auction by Sotheby's for $2,166,210, the highest total for a golf memorabilia collection. Ellis, 55, a golf historian from Oak Harbor, Wash., and runner-up in the 1982 U.S. Mid-Amateur, was a full-time collector for 30 years and gathered almost 800 items spanning four centuries, from the 1600s to the end of the hickory shaft era in the 1930s. Why sell? "It's been so much stress to maintain," he says. "When I'd leave home, I used to wonder if there'd be a fire." Ellis described seven of his favorite items for GOLF PLUS.

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Grant patent center-shafted approach club Circa 1892 George Grant $11,250 Ellis: The only one of its kind that I've ever seen. Designed to play out of trouble spots, like from rocks or a wall. If the head didn't have a shaft, you wouldn't know it's part of a club. Bromley & Brickley Golf Club trophy club 1903 Unknown $43,000 Ellis: Visually stunning because it's all gleaming sterling silver except for the wooden shaft. Only 10 or so of the trophy clubs that were built in the U.K. around the turn of the century still exist, and this is one of two that are privately held. Cochrane super-giant niblick Early 1920s Cochrane's Ltd. $11,250 Ellis: The head is a monstrosityflûit weighs more than two pounds and is six inches wide. When you stare down at the head, it looks as if you could cook a pancake on it. Probably never intended to be used, but rather to show off the clubmaker's skill. Roy Water iron 1880s James Anderson $25,000 Ellis: The first club designed to play out of casual water, which was a key skill because back then the rules didn't allow free drops from casual water. Tom Stewart backwards putter Late 1920s Tom Stewart $3,438 Ellis: Simply looking at the wand makes you feel the passion and frustration Stewart must have felt on the greens to have created something as wacky as this. Hugh Philp presentation/prize putter Circa 1840 Hugh Philp $37,000 Ellis: Philp was known as the Stradivarius of clubmakers. The engraving includes a Celtic cross, the symbol the Scots carried into battles, and crossed clubs and balls, symbolizing war of a different sort. Most likely the club was an award at a golf tournament.

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100
TEACHERS POLL

Which Cup is your favorite?

Presidents .......................6%

Ryder ............................. 94%

"The events should be combined so it's the U.S. against the World. Nobody wants to play every year."
--MARK WOOD, CORNERSTONE CLUB

ELEVEN PHOTOSCOURTESY OF NBC (WEIR); ANDY COSTELLO (PATRI, 3) ERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND); SOTHEBY'S (ANTIQUE CLUBS, 7) PHOTOWARREN LITTLE/GETTY IMAGES (RYDER CUP)PRESIDENTS PHOTOFRED VUICH (PRESIDENTS CUP)RYDER

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)