It was a 5-iron from 164 yards, and those two numbers are but one example why this was an exquisite shot.
The wind had switched and was coming into him from the right. The flag was tucked behind the lake on a green framed by rocks. Bunkers guard the back of the green, which slopes toward the water.
And the most important detail? Woods was on the 18th hole, tied for the lead.
He could have hit an 8-iron that distance, even in this scenario. It's surprising to hear Woods' club selection over various shots, considering his strength, yet Haney said Woods is all about control, and he prefers to use more club than usual in the wind.
"The hardest thing to do under pressure is play a delicate shot," Haney said. "Under the hardest conditions, you'd rather have a shot that you can swing at hard. All he could talk about was the shot on 18. He told me, 'I knew if I didn't do it right, I could upshoot it into the wind and it's in the water. If I flipped it, I hit it in the back bunker.' He had to commit to do it correctly. And he pulled it off.
"That was phenomenal. That made him feel good."
The desirable length for a good course is from 6,000 to 6,400 yards. But bear in mind that it is quality, not quantity, that counts. In my work I repeatedly have had trouble making committees see the force of this. They seem possessed with the idea that length is the main desideratum. It is beyond all argument that many a long course is noticeably uninteresting, in contrast to shorter ones that are well thought-out and skillfully constructed. DONALD ROSS