When Tiger Woods finally dug his feet into the sand in the fairway bunker on the right side of the ninth fairway at Club de Golf Chapultepec last Friday in Mexico City, television analyst Paul Azinger had a sense of what was coming.
Perhaps not a full appreciation of what was about to happen but at least an inkling that Woods, who had a large, leafless tree blocking his golf ball’s path to the green 135 uphill yards away, was trying to create magic.
“He’s going to go all Arnold Palmer on us here,” Azinger said.
Palmer would have applauded what Woods did – rip-slice a 9-iron around, not over, the tree, landing his ball on the green 20 feet left of the hole then pulling it back with vicious side spin so that it peeked at the hole before settling to a stop 11 feet below, all while Woods was waving his 9-iron follow-through like he was sword-fighting a ghost.
The worst that can be said is Woods missed the birdie putt. But it was the mind-bending shot that mattered.
“It’s going to be one of those Tiger shots that will be replayed forever,” veteran instructor Jim McLean said.
Any number of factors made it special but here are three that made it especially memorable:
Woods did it with the modern golf ball, which is designed to curve less than golf balls made a generation ago. Go back 30 years and the shot was easier – not easy – because hitting big sweeping boomerang shots was simpler;
He did it with a 9-iron, ...
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