Big Play

February 16, 2009

WHO
Nick Watney

WHAT
235-yard, 21-degree hybrid to 60 feet

WHERE
572-yard, par-5 18th hole at Torrey Pines

WHEN
Final round of the Buick Invitational

WHY
Watney is no accidental winner. He has a loose and balanced swing that's powerful (seventh in driving distance in 2008) and accurate (16th in GIR). The foundation of Watney's swing is his picture-perfect grip, which is neutral (no hand dominates) and soft. Such a good grip dramatically reduces Watney's margin for error, and that frees him up to play with peace and assurance under pressure, as he did while stoning his hybrid at 18 to set up the winning two-putt birdie.

JOHN'S TIP
Get in a Groove With Your Grip

Grip the club with your left hand and hold it in front of your body. With your right hand flat, wrap the fingers of that hand under the grip so the lifeline rests along your left thumb. (I color the lifeline to help with alignment.) 1 Now lower the right thumb muscle so it forms a groove, and lower the groove so it sits on top of the left thumb. 2 To finish the grip, close the fingers of your right hand. 3

John Elliott teaches at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in Ocala, Fla.

... AND ANOTHER THING

"Whatever happened to Trevor Immelman? Was the big fluke in 2008 his Masters victory or the ho-hum results from the rest of his season?"

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Will Michelle Wie win an LPGA event this year?

Yes 71%

No 29%

"Michelle is the most physically gifted female golfer since Babe Zaharias."
—KEITH LYFORD, AUBURN COUNTRY CLUB

PHOTOCOURTESY OF CBS (WATNEY) FOUR PHOTOSERICK W. RASCO (ELLIOTT, 4)1 2 3 PHOTODAVID WALBERG (WIE)

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)