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The Loop

How He Hit That: Jordan Spieth's back-nine tree escape

April 10, 2015

It didn't take until the 14th hole to know it was Jordan Spieth's day, but his approach shot there certainly confirmed it.

Stuck with an obstructed view of the green after pushing his tee shot into the right rough, Spieth carved his approach around the offending tree trunk and sent it curving straight at the flag. It skipped onto the putting surface and bonked the flagstick, leaving him a three feet for one of the nine birdies he would make on his way to a 64.

"I had a good 7-iron in there...hard shot, with the ball below my feet" said Spieth, who missed the course (and major championship) record by a shot. "I couldn't see what happened with it. I guess it hit the pin--I was lucky it landed so soft."

Luck didn't have much to do with it, says top California teacher Jerome Andrews.

"The way Jordan sets up for a normal shot makes hitting an intentional fade pretty simple," says Andrews, the ESPN Swing Coach. "He has his eyes right of the ball, which helps his weight stay back longer and promotes a fade. He also has a weak grip, and the way his right elbow comes through naturally also helps him fade it. It's no wonder he hit it close."

If you don't have Spieth's raw talent, you can make a few adjustments to your setup to go around an obstacle. "Set your shoulders, hips, knees and feet on the line you want the ball to start, and aim the clubface where you want the ball to end up," says Andrews, who is based at Altadena Golf Course. "The more you want the ball to curve, the more club--and more clubhead speed--you need to use."