How to be Mr. Big Shots
Learning to hit the shots the pros will need at the '08 majors will help your game, too. Top 100 Teacher Rick Grayson tells you how
April 10-13, ESPN, CBS
THE SHOT: Lagging it close on slick greens.
It's all about lag putting at Augusta. Last year, Zach Johnson only had one three-putt because he lagged brilliantly.
HOW TO DO IT: On fast greens, choke down an inch; this shortens your putter for more control. Play the ball just a touch toward the toe of the putter, which deadens the roll. Make a pendulum swing with your arms and shoulders, so you don't pop the ball with your wrists. This will help you roll 30 footers to five inches, not five feet.
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THE U.S. OPEN
La Jolla, Calif.
June 12-15, ESPN, NBC
THE SHOT: Consistent long irons and woods.
Torrey Pines will play brutally long, so hitting good approach shots with long irons and woods is a must.
HOW TO DO IT: You need to maintain the same tempo you use with your shorter clubs, instead of trying to swing faster. Take defending champion Angel Cabrera his tempo is the same whether he's hitting a wedge or a 4-iron. Try this drill: Hit five straight wedges to groove your tempo, then grab your hybrid, choke down an inch or so, and swing the same way. You'll see how easy it is to get the ball airborne.
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THE BRITISH OPEN
July 17-20, TNT, ABC
THE SHOT: Pinpoint putting from off the green.
Birkdale's links layout and firm greens make you putt from off the green, a skill that last year's winner Padraig Harrington has down to a science. This can save you strokes at your course, too, since it takes chunked chips out of play.
HOW TO DO IT: Put more weight on your left side, and play the ball back in your stance, closer to your right toe. This lets you hit down on the ball, which imparts backspin, helping the ball skip through the fringe or fairway. This shot is reliable, and you'll have no fear of hitting it fat, like you might with a wedge.
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Bloomfield Twp., Mich.
Aug. 7-10, TNT, CBS
THE SHOT: Crisp contact from tough rough.
The PGA has taken a cue from the USGA in recent years, making the rough tougher and tougher. To hold the greens from out of the spinach at Oakland Hills, you need to make solid contact.
HOW TO DO IT: Play a cut shot. This promotes a descending blow, which you need from the thick stuff. With the ball centered between your feet, open your stance and take the club slightly outside going back, creating a steep, outside-in path coming down. Defending champ Tiger Woods does this brilliantly. Take an extra club if you're going for the green. If you're laying up, take one less club the extra loft helps you make better contact.