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Tiger's Go-To

2024 U.S. Open: Tiger Woods' go-to greenside shot, explained

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Pinehurst, N.C.—Tiger Woods started his U.S. Open week with a star-studded practice round. The 15-time major champion was one of the first players on the course Monday morning, playing the back nine alongside Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Rickie Fowler.

Except for Tiger, at least around the greens, his practice round looked slightly different. Unlike most practice rounds, Tiger hardly took his wedge out of his bag. Yes, Tiger used his wedge for bunker shots. But outside of that, Tiger spent most of his time around the greens practicing bump-and-run shot.

As we break down here, pro golfers love taking the low route around the greens, especially this week. For two reasons.

  1. Pinehurst has little rough and lots of sloping, turtleback greens. The best way to navigate them is to use them, rather than try to avoid them.
  2. Going low and rolling the ball up, statistically, takes the worst-case scenario off the table way more than chipping—especially from the kind of tight lies you get around Pinehurst's greens.

We get into both in more detail in the video below.

Anyway, Tiger spent lots of time hitting bump and runs. Here's a close-up.

Let's break it down.

Tiger's Pinehurst go-to shot

First you'll notice that Tiger is choking up significantly on his club. That's because he's standing closer, which also pitches the shaft more up. As Golf Digest Best in State Joe Plecker explains, reduces mobility in his wrists.

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You can see that here. Tiger essentially makes a putting stroke stroke-style motion. His shoulders rock his arms and club together.

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Also, if you're wondering what club Tiger's hitting to hit this shot: It's a 4-iron.

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At impact, Tiger is hitting down onto the ball, almost like he's stubbing the ball into the tough.

"That's to control the low point, and make sure you get ball-first contact," Best in State coach Matt McCullough, who coaches U.S. Open amateur Ben James, says. "Into the grain you really want to make sure you hit the ball first to avoid catching the turf furst, and hitting chunks."

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Right here is the frame Tiger's ball first makes contact with the ground. As you can see, it's very close to where his ball started.

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The goal of this shot is to give your ball enough juice so that when it does bang into earth, it skips through the fairway with enough speed to get it to the green, then starts rolling gently once it touches the surface.

It's Tiger's go-to this week, so watch for it. Check out this article if you're looking for your own bump-and-run refresher.