As the 12th installment of the Tour Championship as the finale of the FedEx Cup Playoffs gets underway on Thursday in East Lake, it’s important to remember some of the drama that can unfold around the famed Atlanta course.
Eight years before Jim Furyk was worrying over who to pair together for the Ryder Cup, the U.S. captain was busy making one of the most clutch up-and-downs in FedEx Cup history to win the $10 million prize in 2010.
Faced with a tough bunker shot from wet sand, Furyk hit the shot perfectly, setting himself up for a memorable three-foot putt to win the Tour’s biggest prize.
SwingU instructor Aaron Ungvarsky takes you through the finer points of the shot so you can better extricate yourself from wet sand around the green.
- The sand was wet and heavier than normal. For shots in these conditions, we want to play the ball slightly back of center. A back ball position means the chance of losing power by contact and fighting the sand too early is less likely to happen.
- Next, dig your feet in to lower your center of gravity. This both stabilizes the body during the swing and lowers the swing arc so we contact the sand behind and under the ball. Take a square stance with a neutral-to-minimally-open clubface.
- The objective is more about the proper carry distance and spin control, not the trajectory of the shot. A square face will spin the ball more out of the bunker.
- Rehearse practice swings that are long enough in the backswing to provide the power at impact to move the ball the desired distance after hitting the sand. As you can see with Furyk’s shot, he makes a full backswing as if he was hitting a wood and does not hold back at impact.
- The lower body is quiet as the upper body turns back. The arms do most of the work in getting the club back to impact. A proper downswing finds the arms returning in front of the chest and the grip-end of the club should be centered with the body as well.
- After impact, continue your body rotation through the shot, but keep the hands neutral and do not roll them over. Having neutral hands allows for better distance control and the amount the ball will spin; releasing the hands would result in a shot that hits and runs out past the target.