WHO: Rocco Mediate
WHAT: A holed-out 116-yard wedge for eagle
WHERE: 358-yard par 4 17th hole at CordeValle Golf Club
WHEN: Final round of the Frys.com Open
Four hole-outs in one week? That is freakin’ off the charts. It’s crazy. I’ve never heard of that happening at any level. What makes Rocco’s hole-out in the final round so amazing is that up to that point he was choking like a dog.
Rocco had started the final round with a three-stroke lead, but when he came to 17 he was four over and his lead was gone. So in the 17th fairway, Rocco was thinking mostly of just trying to get the ball onto the green to give himself a good look at birdie. Holing out was probably the last thing on his mind.
Because of the pressure, Rocco took a very abbreviated swing, utilizing a compact motion he’d learned from Lee Trevino this past May. The abbreviated swing is less risky than a full swing, because the shorter swing provides a smaller margin for error and makes it easier to control the clubface. Rocco went back about three-quarters length and had the same amount of follow-through.
THE DRILL: To learn to use an abbreviated swing, especially with a wedge, practice hitting shots with these modifications to your set-up:
1. Narrow your stance.
2. Choke down a bit on the grip.
3. Position the ball a little further back in your stance than normal.
The key with the abbreviated swing is to have what I call symmetrics. By that, I mean that the swing should have the same length and pace in both the backswing and the follow-through. Rocco went back and through three-quarters of the length of a full swing. Common mistakes with an abbreviated swing include not choking down enough on the grip and not abbreviating the follow-through.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Tom Patri teaches at The Quarry in Naples, Fla.