While doing some cleaning around my house for the holiday season, I came across a box of VHS tapes and DVDs from my collection of golf tournaments that I taped over the years.
How the hell did you hit that chip shot from behind the 16th green at Augusta in the final round of 2005? I replayed that thing about 10 times today and I still don’t know how you possibly nipped the ball that perfectly off of a downhilly, tight lie. And then to hit it precisely where you did on the green…to kill it into the hill like that…and have it roll down to the hole and die in the cup on its last revolution for the most unlikely birdie of all time.
Be serious. Were YOU really trying to make that shot?
And how about the Saturday of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines when you made those two back-nine eagle putts? Please don’t tell me you were trying to make both of those. Were you? The one (#13, I believe) looked like it was about 90-feet. Do you pick out the line first and then just use your talent to gauge the speed — or do you study the required speed, get comfortable with that, and then go for the line based on the speed you’re going to hit it? What comes first for you on the putting green? The line or the speed required?
It almost looks – based on the highlights I watched – that you knew that putt on #18 on Saturday was going in. I noticed you didn’t go behind the hole and read that one. Are there times when you think putting becomes “paralysis by analysis”? I know you’ve played Torrey Pines a lot, so maybe you didn’t need to look at that putt from behind the hole — but that was the U.S. Open and all. What a putt. It went right in the middle. I guess sometimes if you’re “feeling it”, you just get up and trust the stroke, right?
I was watching the British Open you won at Royal Liverpool a few years back and on #18 (par 5) in the first round, you hit this nifty little draw 7-iron into the green…remember that? It sort of bounced past the hole and stopped just in the fringe, about 16 feet away for eagle. You initially took a wedge and practiced the “belly shot” before opting for the putter. You rolled that one in for an eagle and the first round lead. I remember afterwards they asked you why you didn’t go with the belly-wedge and you remarked, “because the ball always goes left with the belly wedge and on downhill, downgrain putts or shots, you can’t stop the ball.” Lo and behold, you were right. And I’ve remembered that tip ever since, even though I know you weren’t giving it to me directly. It’s really helped me along the way.
When you just won that tournament in Australia, I noticed you’ve started to grip down on your driver quite a bit. Your driving accuracy in that event was your 2nd best of the 2009 season. My question: Did you lengthen the shaft a couple of inches and grip down on it — effectively keeping it the same length as before? Or did you keep the shaft length the same and just grip down on it a bit to shorten the total length? Whatever you did, it sure worked well. But I’d like to know the answer to that question.
This one’s a little off the wall and you might consider it an invasion of privacy. Your first green jacket was in 1997. Can you still fit in that coat? Just curious. If you don’t want to answer it, I understand.
And lastly, the U.S. Open returns to the West Coast this summer — with the event being played at Pebble Beach, where you won in 2000 by, what, 15 shots, I think? They’re talking about making the 18th hole a par-4 this time around. I noticed in the stats in your career, you’ve made birdie there 68% of the time. It would seem to me, then, that making it a par-4 would probably HELP you, not hurt you. They’ll move you guys up to the normal women’s tee location and play it 501 yards as a par-4…that’s a driver 6-iron for you, based on the wind. Do you like the concept of changing it to a par-4? Personally, I think it helps you.
Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks for all the great golf you’ve played and thanks for the entertainment you’ve given me.
P.S. I saw somewhere today where you’re having some personal issues at home. I hope they all get worked out for you. You’re a great asset to our country and I hope you get things resolved and that your family has a great holiday season.