WHO: Adam Scott
WHAT: A hooked 176-yard approach (on No. 17) and a hooked three-wood tee-shot (on No. 18)
WHERE: 453-yard par-4 17th and 413-yard par 4 18th holes at Royal Lytham
WHEN: Final round of the British Open
Scott hit what I call "underhooks" on his approach at 17 and his tee shot at 18, causing him to airmail the 17th green and drive into a pot bunker at 18. It's the same bad shot that Rory McIlroy is battling and that Scott has been prone to hitting under pressure for a while. An underhook means that in the downswing you swing well below your natural swing plane. Doing that makes your club go too much inside-to-out at impact, so the club gets trapped behind you, and that causes a hook or a block. In Scott's case, it usually causes a hook. I think that Scott is pretty aware of this nagging problem (hitting underhooks), although he hasn't been able to fix it.
To my eyes, Scott's stance is too wide, and wide stances make you prone to too much lateral movement. When you're sliding a lot, you're more likely to get the club stuck way underneath the plane on your downswing. It's amazing that Scott, a guy with one of the best swings in the world, can still have a problem like this. But he does, and it cost him the British Open.
THE DRILL: A great way to be sure you're not sliding too much or swinging below your natural plane is to hit practice balls with your feet together. Doing that allows your upper body to remain stacked right above your lower body, and that makes it virtually impossible for your club to get trapped underneath coming down and through impact.
When you're playing and the pressure is stiff, move your feet a little closer together. Scott normally has a wide stance, so I'd like to have seen him narrow his stance down the stretch at Lytham on Sunday. Narrowing your stance makes you a little more rotary with your swing, which prevents the hips from sliding — and stops the underhooks.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams teaches at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J.