Big Play

March 09, 2008

WHO
Ernie Els

WHAT
175-yard approach to 32 feet

WHERE
434-yard par-4 16th hole at PGA National

WHEN
Sunday at the Honda Classic

WHY
It was refreshing to hear Els say that he had goose bumps while waiting to see if he'd be in a playoff. Many pros have let riches make them lazy, but Els still burns with desire to chase Tiger Woods. After two recent final-round collapses and a first-round thumping at the Match Play, Els intensified his practice. His work paid off when his ball landed in a divot at the 16th and he still pured the approach. Els has a long way to go to catch Woods, but he took a big step on Sunday.

To play from divots, you need solid contact, meaning the clubhead must hit the ball before it hits the turf. Practice in a flat sand bunker. Draw a line in the sand, then stand over the line so it runs through the spot where the ball would be. The goal is to swing so your divot starts at the line (YES), not behind it (NO). Do this with everything from a pitch-sized motion to a full swing.

Mark Wood teaches at the Cornerstone Club in Montrose, Colo.

MARK'S TIP

Divot RX: Draw a Line in the Sand

...AND ANOTHER THING

"I hear that some Tour players have been making bets with each other that Tiger Woods will go undefeated this season."

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Is Tiger Woods's dominance good for the Tour?
Yes 95% No 5%

"Anytime you have the most recognized athlete on the planet in your sport, it has to be good. "
—JIM MURPHY, SUGAR CREEK COUNTRY CLUB

PHOTOCOURTESY OF NBC (ELS) PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND) TWO PHOTOSERICK W. RASCO (WOOD) TWO PHOTOSYES NO

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)