Short Game

Tiger Woods: Face up in the rough

February 09, 2009

BLAST OUT: Just like on a greenside bunker shot, stick the club in the grass behind the ball and keep it moving to an abbreviated finish.

Controlling the clubface is equally important on long and short shots. When pitching from the high stuff, the secret is to keep the face from closing through impact, which occurs when the tall grass wraps around the hosel and the toe turns over.

I open the face of my 60-degree wedge slightly and grip the club a little tighter to keep the toe from flipping closed. Then I play the shot much like an explosion from a greenside bunker, keeping my upper body and lower body connected as I turn through the shot.

The key is to start the wrist cock early and swing your arms on a more up-and-down plane. It also helps to have a high-spin ball to keep the shot from rolling out too far. So keep the clubface pointing to the sky through impact for higher shots that land softly.




__Q: Who did you vote for in the PGA Tour's Player of the Year balloting?

-- Paul Frankenheimer, Albany, N.Y. __

A: Padraig Harrington. He won two majors. It's as simple as that.


__Q: What are your goals for 2009?r

-- Alecia Phelpsr, Tallahassee, Fla.__

A: To get healthy is my No. 1 goal. That's what I'm focused on. I have an idea of when I'd like to return to competition, but it depends on how my left knee holds up. The best-case scenario is that I play a couple of events before the Masters. My outlook on playing tournaments has not changed: I won't come back until I honestly feel that I can win.


__Q: Will your swing be different when you come back?

-- Dennis Drysdale, East St. Louis, Ill.__

A: Without a doubt. I did a lot of things to compensate for my leg over the last few years, namely snap it at impact and back out with my hips. Now, I don't have to do that. I can finally do some of the things Hank [Haney] wanted me to do and have stability in my leg. It's a nice feeling, I can assure you.

Tiger Woods writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest. Ask Tiger a question.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of