What We Learned In 2010

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What We Learned In 2010

December 19, 2010

Photo By: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Photo By: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Photo By: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Photo By: Walter Iooss Jr.

Forget the backswingSure, Jim Fuyrk's takeaway might be the ugliest in professional golf, but did you see what that loop did in 2010? It helped Mr. Furyk grab nearly $15 million in tournament winnings, the FedEx Cup and Player of the Year honors on the PGA Tour. Just goes to show that what your club is doing on the takeaway isn't nearly as important as what it is doing at impact.

Photo By: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Keep your head steadyOne of the oldest golf clichés -- don't move your head when you swing -- has taken a beating from golf instructors in recent years as bad advice. Well, guess what? That's exactly what Tiger Woods was working on with new instructor Sean Foley at the end of 2010. Apparently his head was swaying off the ball too much. If it's good enough for Tiger ...

Photo By: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Flatter is betterJack Nicklaus used to say he imagined he was pushing his hands up into the clouds on the backswing. Don't tell that to Matt Kuchar, who has the flattest swing on the PGA Tour -- and had the fattest wallet of the year until Furyk raked in his FedEx Cup winnings. Kooch won almost $5 million and led the tour with 11 top-10 finishes.

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Stick with what worksLet's try for a second to forget Dustin Johnson's bunker ruling. He had two wins in 2010 to go along with close calls at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Still, critics say his bizarrely bowed left wrist at the top will catch up to him. So we asked his teacher, Butch Harmon: "I wouldn't change that. I could make him look perfect there, and maybe he wouldn't be able to hit a shot."

Photo By: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Be BoldYou can't put skinny jeans on John Daly, and you can't keep Phil Mickelson from taking risks even when the odds of success are long. Mickelson helped himself to a third green jacket at the Masters by going for the green in two at the par-5 13th. He hit a 6-iron 207 yards from a patch of pine needles and two-putted for birdie. Classic Phil -- and a great reminder to play the game your way.

Photo By: Dom Furore

The lie dictates the shotOK, so we're contradicting ourselves, but this one's legit, too. On the last hole of his playoff with Martin Kaymer at the PGA, Bubba Watson had 210 yards from a thick lie in the right rough, with water looming in front of the green. What did he do? Chunked a 6-iron into the drink. Lesson: Risky shots start -- and usually end -- with the lie. Kaymer won his first major with a bogey. Ouch.

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Enjoy the rideWhen Louis Oosthuizen (that's OOST-high-zen -- you're welcome) won the British Open in July by seven, he did it by making Sunday at St. Andrews look like a Tuesday practice round. How? Smiling his way around, making one carefree pass after another, trying not to watch Paul Casey lose his shoes in the gorse. In his first opportunity on the world stage, Oosty stole the show.

Photo By: Dom Furore

Feeling pressure? Play the easiest shotHunter Mahan needed to get up and down from off the 17th green at Celtic Manor to keep the U.S. Ryder Cup team's chances of winning alive. There was no rough between him and the pin, but Mahan opted for a lofted chip shot instead of a bump-and-run or even a putt. Big mistake. He chili-dipped, and the U.S. lost. When the pressure's on and you have options, play the shot you know you can hit.

Photo By: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

First in winsIn the Ryder Cup and at the Chevron World Challenge, Graeme McDowell proved that being the first to make the crucial putt adds a layer of pressure on your opponent often too heavy to bear. Ask Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods -- both McDowell victims.

Photo By: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Putt faster, putt betterTeaching Mickelson, Michelle Wie, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and others, Dave Stockton has become a tour putting guru almost overnight. He shared with us one of his secrets: "Be ready to putt. No practice strokes from the side of the ball. It's a waste of time." This brings to mind Trevino's famous quote: "If you're going to miss 'em, miss 'em quick." Maybe it's time to change those misses to makes?

Photo By: Walter Iooss Jr.

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