Tiger Hits Mega-Slice, Sets Up Eagle Putt

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Tiger Woods, among many others, got rained out in the second round. As a result, plenty of golf was played on Saturday and there was no shortage of highlights, but we couldn’t help but marvel at Tiger turning back the clock with an awesome shot on the 17th hole of his second round.

The reachable par-5 17th plays as one of the easiest holes on the course. On this hole, a drive in the short grass is no small task, but the pressure is on the accuracy a player can dial up from 270-yards (or more) out. Tiger was looking to end the second round with momentum. A good look at an eagle or the coveted tap-in birdie was exactly what he needed to propel himself into the mix.

Woods found himself on the right side of the fairway and would need to seriously work the ball to find the putting surface. Tiger pulled off one of the more impressive shots in his arsenal: the slicing 3-wood that carries over 260 yards.

The cut shot was reminiscent of a shot Woods hit at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Let’s take a look at how you can use your fairway wood to really shape the ball and take advantage of a hole with a lot of movement.

The Setup

  • The key to pulling this shot off relies on a proper setup. First, you will need to adjust your body lines (feet, hips, shoulders) well left of the target. The best way to do this is by picking a point you desire the ball to start on and slice away from as it works towards the target. Begin by playing the ball front of center but slightly behind your normal fairway wood position. If the ball is too far forward the clubface has a chance to shut down, resulting in a pull or hook.
  • Remember to pick a starting line that eliminates the ball from starting at an obstacle. There’s nothing worse than going for the hero shot and not giving the ball a chance.
  • Once this is done, set your body lines parallel to that point and open the clubface.
  • Now with the body lines set left of the target and the clubface open, we can be assured the face will remain open to the path, guaranteeing a big fade or slice.
  • Changing your normal setup and convincing yourself this is going to work is often the most challenging part of this shot. Practice this shot and the setup variations that produce different amounts of curve so when it is time to use it under pressure you will be confident.

The Swing

  • Now that the setup is correct, the swing is the easy part. By making proper setup adjustments you can use your normal body motion and the ball will react exactly how you want.
  • Keep in mind, the more speed you have at impact the higher the spin rate will be and the fade or slice will be more dramatic.
  • These same principles can be applied to clubs with more loft but the curvature will be less as the trajectory increases.