Tiger Woods had two distinctly different bunker shots in the PGA Championship at Kiawah's Ocean Course Thursday that illustrate improvement in his overall bunker play. My colleague Pete McDaniel, a Golf Digest Contributing Editor, was there watching both shots and explains how Tiger pulled each one off. The next time you're in similar situations, you might try Tiger's techniques. Here's Pete:
On the 13th hole, Tiger's drive finished on a slight upslope of a waste bunker. He had to clear a pretty significant lip and hit a 6- or 7-iron for the 178-yard shot. To play the shot, he gripped down on the club about an inch, then lowered his right shoulder or angled his shoulders so the right one was much lower than the left. From there he made normal, ball-first contact, easily clearing the lip. In other words, he didn't swing down into the sand, but rather clipped the ball cleanly with more of a sweeping angle of approach. Unfortunately, he pulled the shot into a sandy lie on the hill above the green and chunked his pitch into the greenside bunker.
From that position, on the short side, he opened his 60-degree wedge fairly flat. With only about 10 feet of green to work with, he had to create a lot of spin to keep the ball from rolling well past the hole. He produced the perfect amount of spin by using a steep, full backswing, really increasing the speed of the club through impact. He also swung to a full finish. The ball settled 18 inches from the hole, and he managed to save bogey and salvage a well-earned 69.