Swing Sequence: Todd Hamilton
The Shot That Won The British Open
By Matthew Rudy
The last hole of the British Open playoff between Todd Hamilton and Ernie Els summed up perfectly what happened in the final pairing Sunday at Troon. Els hit his tee shot 50 yards past Hamilton's, then put a skyscraper approach to 10 feet, setting up a putt that could extend the playoff into sudden death.
Hamilton hit his approach 20 yards short of the green, but confounded the Big Easy again with his next shot -- an unglamorous, low runner with his 17-degree hybrid club (bent to 14 degrees). Hamilton had already used the shot a dozen times during the week, but the last one would be his best. The chip trundled up to tap-in distance, putting the pressure squarely on Els to make his putt. He didn't, and Hamilton, an 11-year veteran of the Asian and Japanese tours, scored one for the average guy.
"I enjoy that kind of golf," says Hamilton, who won 14 times around the world before joining the PGA Tour in 2004. "It doesn't have to look pretty. It just has to get the job done." The big chipping areas around Troon's greens gave players more options than the standard PGA Tour flop shot. So, out came the hybrid.
"I used it from five yards off the green to 15 or 20 yards off," says Hamilton, who also used the shot in winning the Honda Classic in March. "The fairway was as firm as the greens are in the U.S. I could get my ball up and running like a putt."
And yes, the hybrid did do its intended work as well. "I hit it 280 off the tee at Troon -- 20 or 30 more yards than a 2-iron," he says, "and I knew I could hit it straight."