There is nothing more devastating in match play than having an
excellent shot topped by an even better one by your opponent.
That's what sealed the U.S.'s fate in the Ryder Cup during
Sunday's crucial singles matches. After Phil Mickelson knocked it
stiff at the 6th hole, Phillip Price hit it inside of him from an
awkward stance on the edge of a hazard and won the hole when
Mickelson gagged his three-foot putt. Following Jim Furyk's near
hole-out from the green-side bunker on 18, Paul McGinley coolly
sank a pressure-packed 10-footer to clinch the Cup. Only Paul
Azinger's miracle bunker shot on 18 (left) was not answered by a
European, but it wasn't enough.
O-VER-RA-TED Mickelson's pivotal 3 and 2 singles loss to Price,
ranked 118th in the world, only strengthened my belief that
Mickelson is not the second-best player in the game. How can you
be ranked No. 2 when you've won only once outside the U.S., at
the Perrier Open in Paris, on the European Challenge tour, way
back in 1993, and have never been victorious at a major
championship? Mickelson's balky putter always seems to cripple
him at inopportune times, and, sure enough, a series of blown
putts on the front nine on Sunday is what doomed him against
Price. Mickelson had a golden opportunity to change the
perception of him as a player, and it's unfortunate that he
CAPTAIN AMERICA As a member of the PGA of America I don't get to
vote on the next Ryder Cup captain, but I feel there are two
strong candidates for 2004--Mark O'Meara and Hal Sutton. Both
Ryder Cup warriors have reached the twilight of their Tour
careers, so the job would not be a burden to their games, yet
they still play enough to have a feel for the men who would be on
Krause is the director of instruction at the Peter Krause Golf
Academy in Coon Rapids, Minn., and one of Golf Magazine's Top 100
THREE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF NBC (TOP)
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (2) SETUP
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (2) FOLLOW-THROUGH
Playing a bunker shot with the ball well below your feet, as Paul
Azinger did at the 18th hole on Sunday, is much different from
having a flat stance in the sand. The key is a lower center of
gravity in the setup.
On a standard bunker shot, the feet should be shoulder-width
apart, the knees slightly bent and the butt of the club should
point to the belt buckle. When playing a sand shot with the ball
well below your feet, widen the stance and increase the knee bend
so that you feel as if you're getting down to the ball (left).
Finally, lower the hands and bring them slightly closer to you so
that the butt of the club points to a spot about five inches
below the belt buckle.
This lower setup encourages a more vertical backswing than the
one used in a standard sand shot. It also means that the
follow-through will stay very low to the ground (right).
As Azinger demonstrated, as long as a player can lower his center
of gravity, this shot is not impossible, regardless of the
gravity of the moment.