Tiger’s Dramatic 1999 Ryder Cup Chip-In

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

It’s hard to believe that the last time Tiger Woods was on a winning Ryder Cup team came in 1999 at The Country Club.

The Battle at Brookline has been whittled down in history to Justin Leonard’s famous putt on the 17th hole in his match against Jose Maria Olazabal — and the subsequent celebration — but there was a lot that went right for the Americans on Sunday outside of Boston.

Playing in his second Ryder Cup, Woods went 1-3 over the first four sessions of the event, but facing off against Scotland’s Andrew Coltart in the Sunday singles, Woods manufactured a Ryder Cup moment of his own.

Up 1 through 7 holes and facing a tricky lie right of the 8th green, Woods hit a lengthy chip and run that found the bottom of the cup to much fanfare around the green. He would go on to win his match 3&2, giving the Americans their first lead of the week.

SwingU instructor Aaron Ungvarsky explains how Woods pulled off the difficult shot under the most extreme pressure and how you can emulate his form to create your own memorable moment.

The Setup

  • Playing a long chip that reacts like a putt starts with selecting the right club. Remember to select a club with just enough loft to carry the initial obstacle. The object of the shot is to carry the ball to the desired landing point, from which it starts rolling like a putt. Using a lofted wedge makes both the predictability of how the ball lands on the green and the length of run-out the ball has difficult to determine. Instead, try to use a 9-iron or 8-iron — these have enough loft to carry a ball four-to-five yards and still produce a shot the rolls out when on the green.
  • Position the ball in the center of the stance. If the ball is too far back, you can end up hitting down on the ball resulting in a failure to accomplish the initial carry needed because the ball is off their back foot.
  • Keep you hands even with the ball and avoid a forward press. The loft of the club we chose will keep the trajectory down for us. Setting up in a neutral position will allow us to play this shot more like a putt.

The Shot

  • Feel like you are making a long putting stroke. Allow the hands and wrists to make the same motion and practice letting the club track down the target line. Releasing the club through, similar to a putter, is what causes the ball to track like a putt versus stopping and checking like a chip.
  • Your weight and pressure should stay balanced on the lead side, but focus on feeling centered and stable during the short swinging motion. The finish position will find you facing the target with weight fully supported on the lead side.

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