Publish date:

Big Play with John Elliot

WHO: RyujiImada

WHAT: 263-yardthree-wood into the water

WHERE: 576-yardpar-5 18th hole at TPC Sugarloaf

WHEN: Firstplayoff hole of the AT&T Classic

WHY

Imada blew hischances by letting emotion, instead of reason, inform his decision to attempt amiracle shot over a water hazard from a downhill lie in the rough. Yes, ZachJohnson was in position to make birdie, but Imada, hitting first, had at best aone-in-10 chance of making the 252-yard carry over water and hitting the green.Had Imada laid up, his likelihood of a birdie would have jumped to three orfour chances in 10.

JOHN'S TIP

Forget the HeroShot; Divide and Conquer

When facing adecision to go for broke or lay up, the facts will almost always show that amiracle shot isn't the smart play. Instead, divide the shot in two. In Imada'ssituation (right), his best chance at birdie would've come from hitting twoshort irons of approximately the same distance. Situations vary, but the ideaof breaking one hard shot into two easier ones usually makes sense.

John Elliottteaches at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Ill.

... AND ANOTHERTHING

"Choppingdown more than 5,000 trees turned Oakmont from my top U.S. Open venue into myleast favorite. They've ruined the masterpiece."

TOWN HAUL

This year'sPlayers showcased a new date, a new clubhouse and some inspired play by PhilMickelson. Little surprise, then, that the final-round ratings for the NBCtelecast were up 24% over 2006 (3.6 rating/10 share versus 2.9/7). It was theeighth broadcast of the year for the network, and overall NBC's ratings aredown 21% for the season, from an average of 2.8 to 2.2. Below are the marketsthat have most embraced the new FedEx Cup schedule on NBC through their remotecontrols, and those that have found better things to watch or do.

[This article contains tables. Please see hard copy or pdf.]

Top 10

Ratings/Share

Viable Explanation

Fort Myers--Naples

(5.3/11)

Shuffleboard championships moved to coincide with Fall Series

West Palm Beach

(4.2/9)

Half the population made up of aspiring pros

Buffalo

(3.9/9)

Winter lasts until early June

Orlando--Daytona Beach

(3.8/7)

It's the only way Tiger's neighbors can actually see him

Jacksonville

(3.4/7)

Tour requires all employees to leave their TVs on

Tampa--St. Petersburg

(3.4/7)

It's golf or the Devil Rays

St. Louis

(3.3/7)

Redbirds are off to a slow start

Detroit

(3.0/7)

Someone has to check out all those Buick ads

Las Vegas

(3.0/6)

There are opportunities to bet on every shot

Louisville

(3.0/6)

When the ponies don't run, locals watch birdies

Bottom 5

Bottom 5

Ratings/Share

Viable Explanation

Salt Lake City

(1.7/5)

Put off by unseemly behavior of Tour players

Austin

(1.6/4)

As Justin Leonard goes, so goes Longhorns viewership

Chicago

(1.6/4)

They're not watching until they get the Western Open back

Houston

(1.6/4)

They simply don't care

Washington, D.C.

(1.5/4)

Busy preparing for the Tiger Woods Invitational

GOLF MAGAZINE

Which is the more prestigious senior major?

Senior PGA 14%

U.S. Senior Open 86%

"A national championship is always the mostprestigious. The PGA is just an organization. The U.S. is our country."

--T.J. TOMASI, NANTUCKET GOLF CLUB

PHOTO

COURTESY OF CBS (IMADA)

TWO PHOTOS

ERICK W. RASCO (BACKGROUND; ELLIOTT, 2)

PHOTO

JOHN MUMMERT/USGA ARCHIVES (TROPHY)