If you were watching the second round of the 2012 Open Championship, you might have been lucky enough to witness some Tiger Woods magic that reminded many of the "old” Tiger – a miraculous, dramatic shot that might just be a turning point if he goes on to win his 15th major.
Specifically, we’re talking about the bunker shot he holed on No. 18: Deep, revetted greenside bunker, wet sand, and nothing but the bottom of the cup.
How'd he do that?
For most amateurs, bunkers are bad enough, but when they get wet? Fuggetaboutit!
So we asked Justin Bruton, Director of Golf at the Biltmore Golf Course in Miami/Coral Gables, Fla., for some pointers on playing from dry vs. wet sand. Here's what he told us:
"When playing out of dry and/or soft sand, you want to use your wedge that has more bounce to keep the club from digging in excessively. But when faced with a wet and/or hard sand bunker shot, we want less bounce to keep the club from deflecting off the surface and causing the dreaded skull.
"I recommend to all my players to have a lob wedge with low bounce and a sand wedge with mid to high bounce so that they have a wedge for either condition. Down here in Miami, we play a lot of rounds where we start with dry/soft sand, and then it rains half-way through, and we have to finish with wet/hard sand. This is why I like my wedges to have different degrees of bounce to match either surface.
"You want to hit closer to the ball the harder the surface is to prevent the deflection, whereas you have options with soft/dry of either hitting further behind and having the ball come out lower with more roll or closer to the ball, which produces a high ball flight with more spin."
If you noticed on Tiger's shot, he nipped the sand fairly close behind the ball, and it just cleared the steep face of the bunker. The ball was really moving when it went in.
Without his preternatural short game, and some luck, it would have run well past the hole. But it was the only shot he could play under the conditions, and he played it perfectly.