Big Play

February 09, 2009

WHO
Rory McIlroy

WHAT
Greenside bunker shot to four feet

WHERE
564-yard par-5 18th hole at Emirates Golf Club

WHEN
Final round of the Dubai Desert Classic

WHY
McIlroy is only 19, but his game is as sophisticated and polished as that of athirtysomething Tour pro. Yet what most impresses me is his courage and coolunder pressure. After blowing a six-shot lead on the back nine, McIlroy neededan up-and-down from a bunker behind the 18th green to win by one. Hittingtoward a greenside water hazard, he deftly blasted to four feet and sank theputt. Bouncing back from adversity like that is the sign of a real star.

AJ'S TIP
Bunker Rx: Think Break the Tee

For a greensidebunker shot, imagine your ball is on a tee beneath the sand, then swing downhard enough to break that tee. (You can practice with a real tee in the sand.)Trying to break the tee makes you swing assertively, but the sand between theclub and ball deadens the shot so that the ball lands softly.

AJ Bonar teachesat Encinitas Ranch Golf Course in Encinitas, Calif.

... AND ANOTHER THING

"It's scary that Tiger Woods has spent much of hisrehab honing his unmatched short game. He could pull a Byron Nelson and run thetable in '09."

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Kenny Perry has 13 Tour wins. His goal is 20. Will hemake it?

Yes 22%

No 78%

"Perry has the talent to reach 20, but at age 48,he doesn't have the time."
—GARY WIREN, TRUMP INTERNATIONAL

PHOTOAHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS (MCILROY) PHOTOCARLOS M. SAAVEDRA (BONAR) ILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATION (SI IMAGING) PHOTOROBERT BECK (PERRY)

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)