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It’s Masters Week, and with Tiger Woods back in contention alongside perhaps the strongest field in a generation, the 2018 edition shapes up as a must-view. Not that most golf fans would miss it anyway. So, to celebrate the year’s first major, we recount a handful of great shots in Masters history — then shows how to hit those shots, including this biting chip from Tiger Woods, via great professional instruction from the Golf Tips archives.
Tiger Woods, Hole 16, 2005
“In your LIFE have you seen anything like that!?”
With three green jackets already in his closet, Tiger Woods was still the No. 1 player in the world for several years running when he arrived at Augusta for the eighth time as a pro. Phil Mickelson had finally broken through with his first major at the Masters the previous year, so Tiger was plenty motivated to find his way back to the winner’s circle. Going into the final day Tiger held a three-shot lead over Chris DiMarco after firing a third-round 65, with the rest of the field several shots back. It was essentially a two-horse race, and DiMarco grinded to get just a shot behind after 15 holes. He put his tee shot safely on the green on the par-3 16th, while Tiger pulled his iron just a bit, into a bowl just behind the green, up against the collar of what passes for “rough” at Augusta. Then came perhaps the greatest shot of the many he has manufactured in his 14 major wins.
He pulled out his sand wedge, picked a spot well left of the pin as his aiming point, then spied a spot beyond it as the apex of what would be a nearly 90-degree check-and-run chip. After rehearsing a crisp downward blow he settled in, set his wrists in his backswing and came firmly into the ball, sending it low into the green. It checked beautifully, settled onto the circuitous path and rolled ever-so-slowly to the cup, where it perched on the edge for a couple seconds, then disappeared. What a lot of people forget is that Tiger bogeyed both 17 and 18, allowing DiMarco to force a playoff with pars, but Woods notched the W anyway.
YOUR SHOT: THE BITING CHIP
Tiger in his prime was easily one of the greatest chippers and pitchers of the golf ball that the game has ever seen. “Up and down” was his middle name. But this particular chip, in the cauldron of Augusta, from that lie, in that situation, was beyond belief. Not that it was technically all that difficult; to make it work, such a chip needs serious backspin for that first biting bounce, and that means catching the ball perfectly with the wedge’s leading edge. And that takes a few simple set-up and swing musts, including weight forward at address and firm hands at impact. PGA teachers Rick Sessinghaus shows why keeping it simple can yield Tiger-like results.