Publish date:

Big Play

WHO: HenrikStenson

WHAT: 25-yardshot from a greenside waste area

WHERE: 534-yardpar-5 10th hole at the Gallery Golf Club

WHEN: 28th holein the final of the Accenture Match Play

WHY

A Tour pro wouldhit a long half-blast from the gunch to eight feet maybe once in 10 times. ThatStenson did it while standing on one foot with the other splayed on the grassybank behind him--not to mention that he was one down near the end of thebiggest match of his life--demonstrated his amazing balance. It not onlyallowed Stenson to pull off the carnival shot, but it's also a core element ofthe powerful swing that he rode to victory.

BILL'S TIP

Four Keys toPerfect Balance

Try this drill toimprove your balance, take a half-dozen slow practice swings with a seven iron.At the end of each, stop and check these four keys:

1. Weight overthe left foot

2. Right foot upon the toes

3. Knees almosttouching

4. Eyes pointedat the target

Once you canstand still and upright without wobbling after swinging, hit teed-up balls andcheck yourself after each shot.

Bill Brittonteaches at Twin Brook Golf Center in Tinton Falls, N.J.

... AND ANOTHERTHING

"After theRyder Cup, people threw around excuses for the U.S. loss, but nobody mentionedthe real reason: The Europeans are better."

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

Will the Europeans break their seven-year drought inthe majors in 2007?

Yes 64%

No 36%

" No. What makes them great team players hurtsthem individually."

--JIM MURPHY, SUGAR GREEK COUNTRY CLUB

The Pepper Mill

[ by DOTTIE PEPPER ]

AFTER ONE year and some much-needed tweaking, theRolex Women's World Rankings have settled down--mostly. The rankings are basedon a rolling two-year period with the 13 most recent weeks weighted mostheavily and a strength-of-field value factored in. Annika Sorenstam is stillNo. 1, though by a smaller margin than a year ago. Michelle Wie, originally No.3, is now 14th, which seems about right. The one remaining issue, in my mind,is that the Japanese LPGA (JLPGA) is still weighted too heavily. Ai Miyazato(left) won six times on the JLPGA in 2005 and debuted at sixth. She has slidonly one spot, to seventh, after a 2006 in which she went winless on the LPGAand won twice in Japan. This can be corrected by giving higher value to theLPGA fields, where the best players compete week in and week out, or givingless weight to the JLPGA. The Japanese players are very good, but their tour isnot as deep as the LPGA's. If entry to major championships and European SolheimCup selection hinge on the rankings--and we're headed in that direction--I say,keep tweaking.

PAULA CREAMER (right) earned her win at SBS theold-fashioned way: by leading the field in birdies (15), greens in regulation(81.5%) and fairways hit (85.8%). She addressed her main flaw--too much weighton her toes from address through impact--in the off-season, and Phil Mickelsonwould be wise to follow suit. He spent a lot of the off-season looking for adriver to help prevent his repeated misses left, but the fix requires more thana new club. While his driving accuracy has improved by 5%, his mistakes arephysical. His swing, especially late in tournaments, gets very loose, and sincehe goes way past parallel at the top, his timing unravels. If he shortened andtightened his swing, his driving accuracy would improve even more. Oddly,Phil's newly fit body and increased flexibility will make it harder to controlthe length of his backswing. Now he can get his body into positions that hesimply couldn't before.

Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour andan analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes questions atdottie@siletters.com.

PHOTO

COURTESY OF NBC (STENSON)

TWO PHOTOS

ERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND, BRITTON,)

 WRONG

TWO PHOTOS

ERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND, BRITTON)

RIGHT

PHOTO

DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER)

TWO PHOTOS

MARCO GARCIA/AP (CREAMER, MIYAZATO)

PHOTO

JOHN GRESS/REUTERS (MONTGOMERIE)