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Opinion & Analysis

The 10 Best Shots In FedEx Cup History

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As the FedEx Cup playoffs head toward their annual climax, let’s have some fun and take a look at some of the most amazing shots in FedEx Cup history. Get your popcorn ready!

10. Phil Mickelson – 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

This was not his best day or his best tournament (he finished 14 shots back of winner Henrik Stenson), but only Phil can do stuff like this.  It’s basically witchcraft.

9. John Senden – 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship

If you jar a 3-iron for double eagle carrying a hazard from 250 yards out, that deserves to be remembered. Because albatross.

8. Matt Kuchar – 2010 The Barclays

Now we’re getting to the clutch shots.  Kuch had just fired a 66 to get into a playoff with Martin Laird and then comes up with this gem with everything on the line. He would tap in to win the tournament and go on to finish second in the FedEx Cup standings to Jim Furyk that year.

7. Dustin Johnson – 2017 Northern Trust

I’m going to argue that DJ’s much-ballyhooed monster of a drive in a playoff vs. Jordan Spieth is worthy of the No. 7 spot on this list. Fast forward to the 13:05 mark and try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor. To commit to that shot in that situation is something most of us will never be able to truly get our heads around.

6. Jordan Spieth – 2015 Tour Championship

Fast forward to the 1:51 mark for Jordan’s huge putt on the 11th hole of the final round.  Jordan started the day one shot ahead of Stenson. At this point, he was two shots ahead of Henrik, but he was coming off a bogey. Stenson had about a 6-foot putt and Jordan had a 45 footer, so it appeared as though things might be getting interesting. Then Spieth rises up and drains an amazing birdie putt. Watching him drop some of the most improbable putts is becoming as routine as Phil’s previously mentioned flop shot magic. This one capped off a year the likes of which we may never witness again.

5. Brandt Snedeker – 2012 Tour Championship

Sneds started this day tied for the lead with future gold-medal winner Justin Rose. He played a great round that put Justin on the ropes, and then he virtually sealed the tournament and FedEx Cup trophies simultaneously with this chip in on the 17th hole.

4. Henrik Stenson – 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

Henrik had a very good year up to this point in 2013. He finished second at the Open, third at the PGA Championship, and second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. At this point, it turned from a good year to a great year as he holed out from a greenside bunker on the 17th hole to win this tournament and vault into first place in the FedEx Cup standings. He would go on to win the Tour Championship and seal the FedEx Cup that year.

3. Jim Furyk – 2013 BMW Championship.

Though technically not one single shot, a 59 is wildly impressive. Jim Furyk (also the proud owner of a 58) hit every fairway, missed only one green, and holed one out for eagle on the 15th hole (his 6th). Going out in 28 meant he could even withstand a three-putt bogey on the 5th hole (his 14th) en route to an insanely low number. Especially on a cold, windy day outside Chicago.

2. Rory McIlroy – 2016 Tour Championship

In a wild year where the FedEx Cup was up for grabs until nearly the very last putt dropped, Rory found himself three shots back with three to play in the final round at East Lake. He delivered a massive hole out for eagle on the 16th hole to surge upward at precisely the right time. Rory would dispose of Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a playoff to win the Tour Championship and swipe the FedEx Cup away from Dustin Johnson, resulting in a pay day north of $11.5 million.

1. Bill Haas – 2011 Tour Championship

Haas was in a playoff with Hunter Mahan with both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup titles on the line. He was completely on the ropes when he pulled off this shot from the water hazard to save par and extend the playoff, which he went on to win. What else is there to say? Onions!

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Peter Schmitt is an avid golfer trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. He believes that first and foremost, golf should be an enjoyable experience. Always. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids. "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." -Arnold Palmer

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. xjohnx

    Sep 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I’m sure no one watched football yesterday either.

  2. Radim Pavlicek

    Sep 11, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Rory should have been Nr.1

  3. Radim Pavlicek

    Sep 11, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Still thing Rory should be Nr.1

  4. Rex

    Sep 10, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Kucher has always judged those 15 hop 7 irons so well. Probably the best 13-17 hop 7 iron punch shot players in the business

  5. Ida

    Sep 10, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Today, Sunday, September 10th, thousands of people will be drowned by the storm surge in Florida. Meanwhile, we slobber over golf clubs and golf swings. Sad.

    • acemandrake

      Sep 10, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Honor the dead, help the survivors, celebrate life

    • Golfandpuff

      Sep 10, 2017 at 10:54 am

      First of all, why are you even here trolling about? Seriously, this article did not diminish in any way what is going on in FL. Second, there was more than enough time for those thousands you estimate to get out…run from death and save themselves.

      W/O a doubt Haas played shot of a lifetime…could give any short game guru a bucket of balls and they would not do better.

    • LITM

      Sep 10, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      It’s nobody I know so I don’t care

    • Fk

      Sep 11, 2017 at 1:45 am

      Yeah, and tomorrow will be 9/11, so whatchu gonna do then? You’re a facking kant

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Mastering the basic pitch shot

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As promised in last week’s post about basic chipping technique, this week let’s move back to that dreaded “half wedge” range; I get so much feedback that this is the place where “wedg-ilepsy” so often sets in.

I have to give credit to a friend for that term, and I will admit that I have suffered from “wedge-ilepsy” at times throughout my golf life. It’s like the putting yips, in that it is a maddening “disease”, but there IS a cure. My experience and analysis is that both stem from a drift away from good basic technique—which begets terrible results—and the spiral begins.

But, back to the subject matter at hand today – those mid-range pitch shots that are longer than a chip, but considerably less than a full wedge swing. Please bear with me today, as this post – by necessity of the subject matter – is a bit longer than usual.

As I repeatedly admit, this column is not a substitute for instruction from a PGA professional, but I’ll do my best to give you some basics to work on for this range of shots. And I believe those basics start with the same fundamentals I outlined for chipping last week. You might want to refresh those HERE.

As I’ve written many times before, all golf shots are infinitely easier to master if your starting “geometry” is sound. That means solid posture and ball position, and a grip that is light for maximum feel and to help maintain a slow, smooth tempo. You should feel control of the club in the last three fingers of the left hand, and a light touch in your right fingertips to optimize feel and to keep you from getting quick – it’s almost impossible to get too fast in your swing if your right grip is very light.

Mid-range wedge play is only about distance and trajectory control. Unfortunately, there is just no shortcut to developing that. It takes commitment to a technique, and practice time. I strongly suggest that at least half of your range time – whether a dedicated practice session or your pre-round warm-up – be given to this part of your game. Do that and your scores will reflect the dedication.

While some promote the notion of different swing lengths relating to a clock face, I think this shot is most reliable and repeatable when you make a “half swing” that is long enough to foster some rhythm and tempo. And I think that swing length is where your hands and forearms reach a point at or just past having the lead arm roughly parallel to the ground at the end of this shortened backswing. That allows you to make a mini-swing, longer than the chip shot, but shorter than a full shot.

Once you have found that comfortable backswing length, you can make the same length basic “mini-swing” and achieve the desired distances for this shot by changing clubs and altering the speed of the forward rotation of the body core.

I like to use the analogy of driving speed. And you never swing a wedge at “freeway speed”. That’s for your longer clubs only.

For your longer pitch shots, I like to think rotating my body through impact at “country road” speed – 55 mph and relaxed. Just below that is “city driving”, slower and careful. And for the shortest shots, that forward swing – from the same backswing position – is “school zone” speed, which is the most precise and careful pace of all.

But for all these shots, the key is to finish the backswing! You want to feel the end of the swing and then allow your body core to begin its forward rotation into and through impact and follow-through at your desired speed.

I know many of you are wintered in, but you can learn this technique in your basement or garage. Just take your wedge and practice this approach to see how it feels. Once you have found your comfortable backswing length, and have become familiar with these three speeds, you can further dissect your “distance chart” by learning how far each of your wedges flies and rolls out with these three speeds, and even further by experimenting with gripping down on the club various amounts.

It’s hard to explain this completely in a single blog post, but that’s my best effort. Let me know where you want to get more, and we’ll continue this dialog as long as you wish.

Keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: New Callaway Epic drivers and fairways + Apex hybrids!

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New Callaway Epic drivers are better than last year! Three different drivers offer options for every level golfer. Epic Speed is lower launching and easy to work the ball, Epic Max LS has a penetrating flight but good stability, and the Epic Max with its higher launch and maximum forgiveness. The new Apex hybrids are easier to hit and more user friendly than last year.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Golf Test Dummy with Chad Ferguson

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Today, we have a great conversation with a fellow YouTuber Chad Ferguson on the evolution of teaching and Chad’s first couple of lessons with Wisdom in Golf. A lot of our students have been saying how they appreciate his take on our methodology, and it’s very refreshing to hear another unique perspective on learning and acquiring skills in golf.

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