WHO: Michael Campbell
WHAT: 30-yard greenside bunker shot to five feet
WHERE: Par-4 15th at Pinehurst
WHEN: Final round of U.S. Open
Campbell's compact swing was perfectly suited to this long sand shot from an uphill lie tight to the lip. The shorter swing helps Campbell focus on precision at the point of impact--hitting the ball an iota fat or thin could have cost him the title if it had led to a bogey or worse, instead of a miraculous par.
To Go Long, Draw a Line in the Sand
Precise contact is particularly important on bunker shots. For short explosions the clubhead should hit the sand a bit behind the ball, but on longer shots you must make contact with the ball first. To become more precise at making contact, try the Line Drill. Draw a line in the sand and imagine your ball is resting on it. Take a practice swing, making sure that your divot starts on the line and goes forward. Move a few inches down the line and swing again. After four or five successful tries, place a ball on the line and swing through.
Rob Stanger teaches at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and is a regular contributor to SI.com.
... AND ANOTHER THING
"The U.S. Open no longer identifies the best player because the courses are so penal the event has deteriorated into a chipping and putting contest."
TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL
Does the U.S. Open identify the best player?
"The best prevail in tougher situations. In the five previous Opens, Goosen won twice, Tiger won twice and Furyk won once. Those guys are tops on any list." ¬†--JIM MURPHY / THE TRAINING STATION
COURTESY OF NBC (CAMPBELL)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS
GINA HOUSEMAN (STANGER, 2)
JOHN BIEVER (BACKGROUND)
DARREN CARROLL (CAMPBELL)