Despite never having played a links course and probably never before having faced the challenge offered by Royal St George's, Ben Curtis walked off with the claret jug.
A large part of the reason was his mastery of the bump-and-run shot, which is a dying art in this age of lob wedges. During his first practice round, Curtis was about to play a wedge shot when his caddie put an 8-iron in his hands with the words: 'Try this'.
Curtis was so pleased with the result that he said: 'I'm going to use this club for these shots all week,' and he did. And if you think back, how many players can you remember successfully playing a flop shot from just off the green during the Open?
If you want to master this shot, which is appropriate anywhere from 10-70 yards out, and not just on links courses, use a 7 or 8-iron, put the ball slightly back in your stance and imagine you're hitting a long putt. A few minutes on the range getting the feel for distance is all the practice you need.
|| 24 - JULY 2003