Publish date:

Big Play

Author:

WHO: TigerWoods

WHAT: 57-footeagle putt

WHERE: 532-yardpar-5 7th at Quail Hollow Club

WHEN: Final roundof the Wachovia Championship

WHY

Putting is thebest part of Woods's game, as he showed on the front nine on Sunday by holingthree birdie putts from between eight and 21 feet, plus the monster eagle. Atimpact his putter is perpendicular to the target line, so his ball rolls endover end with no sidespin. When watching Woods putt, pay attention to theclose-up shots that focus on the straight black line on his ball. It neverswerves, even on misses.

MARK'S TIP

Line Never WaversOn Perfect Putts

To learn to makesquare and solid contact, practice with a two-colored ball (right) or draw athick straight line along the equator of your ball. The ball should roll endover end all the way to the hole, even on putts that break. If you've hit asolid putt with no sidespin, the black line or the line formed where the twocolors meet will remain perpendicular to the ground and not swerve a bit.

Mark Wood teachesat the Cornerstone Club in Montrose, Colo.

... AND ANOTHERTHING

"Players havebeen going ballistic since the Tour let Phil Mickelson play the Nelson aftermissing the pro-am. Clearly, the stars have their own rules."

Was the move to May an upgrade for the Players orshould the Tour have left it in March?

May 88%

March 12%

"A slight upgrade and an elite tournament,especially to the pros, but the Players will always be the fifthwheel."

--BRUCE PATTERSON, BUTLER NATIONAL

The Pepper Mill

[ by DOTTIE PEPPER ]

SMOKE ALARM The renovation of the Stadium course andclubhouse at TPC Sawgrass (Golf Plus, May 8) is complete, and both venues aregetting great reviews. But the Players Championship's new date will have as bigan impact on the event as the refurbishment. For years the Players has beenstaged in the cool, soggy weather of March, when the course isoverseeded--conditions that don't match a course designed to play firm andfast. With the new, warmer May date, a SubAir system under the greens that canextract water, deeper bunkers, beefed-up mounding and no rye overseed, look forthe course to be really tough, especially since there are no heavy rains in theforecast. Wildfires in nearby Georgia could present another obstacle: smoke.Both 17 and 18 play to the northwest. If the wind is coming from thatdirection, those holes could be playing into a breeze with reduced visibility.Imagine needing to bowl two strikes when the lights at the alley have beenturned off.

DENVER NUGGET I can't help but note the irony of anLPGA event landing in Denver in 2008, which seems a near certainty. It wouldbecome the second LPGA event to step in after the PGA Tour moved on (the firstwas in Williamsburg, Va.), and one of the first tournaments that will havecommissioner Carolyn Bivens's stamp on it from start to finish. Only 10 monthsago Bivens and her staff refused to attend an LPGA Tournament OwnersAssociation meeting in Denver scheduled to review the new LPGA businessstrategy. Some serious tensions still exist between various sponsors, the TOAand the LPGA administration, but the product is better, and the LPGA is aterrific, if ironic, fit for Denver.

CALLING CRISTIE At this point in 2006 Cristie Kerr hadone win among six top 10s. She ended the season fifth on the money list and inthe world ranking. This year, she's 32nd on the money list and has one top 10.She has some ongoing neck problems, but more than anything it seems as if shelacks a positive mind-set. U.S. Solheim Cup captain Betsy King needs Cristie toget moving in the right direction--quickly.

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

PHOTO

COURTESY OF CBS (WOODS)

FIVE PHOTOS

ERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND, WOOD, 4)

PHOTO

DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER)

PHOTO

DON HEUPEL/AP (BIVENS)

PHOTO

AL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (KERR)