WHO: Webb Simpson
WHAT: 40-foot downhill chip from the greenside rough to four feet for the winning par
WHERE: 344-yard par-4 18th hole at the Olympic Club
WHEN: Final round of the U.S. Open
Simpson stood with a square stance, rather than being open to the target as is often the case with chips around the green. He also spent a lot of time deciding where he would land the ball. The key to little shots like Simpson's is what happens in your head before the swing. If you know the type of swing, ball flight, landing spot and how far the ball will roll, then you'll be in great position to execute the shot. Simpson made a short and quick chip motion, which was a mirror of his full swing. He played the shot with the clubface square to the target, rather than open, because he didn't want the ball to fly far or high on the slick downhill shot, and he took a steep angle of attack. It was a terrific shot.
THE DRILL: It's important to have a variety of shots around the green. The lie, hole position and putting surface will dictate what type of shot is necessary — whether it's a high flop, a low and long runner or a little chip like Simpson hit. The only way to develop an arsenal of shots is to practice. Take five balls and spend time around a practice green. Drop the balls into the rough near each other. Play each ball as it lies, and play each ball with a different shot to a different hole. One might be a running chip, another a high flop. Repeat the five ball sequence several times. Before hitting each shot, it's mandatory to determine the angle of attack, whether it'll be steep or shallow, and how long of a swing you'll take. Your thought process before the shot largely determines how well you execute the shot.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mitchell Spearman teaches at Isleworth in Windermere, Fla., and Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook, New York.