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Tiger's Shot

By now everyone probably has seen or heard about The Shot. The 70th hole of the Masters, everything on the line, huge pressure, Tiger's off the 16th green in the rough, he chips the ball not toward the hole but way left of it, up onto a high point of the green, where the ball stops, and then slowly begins to roll and weave and wander its way back down the slope, toward the hole, as though it smells it. The ball seems to be out of gas but keeps rolling, and finally reaches the lip, and stops, and for two seconds it doesn't move, and then it drops, for birdie.

What few people realize is that this is all done with powerful magnets. Augusta National has the most advanced electronics underneath its greens of any golf course in America. There's essentially an entire city down there, with technicians in jump suits, hallways as long as a Par 5, enough computing power to track a fleet of satellites. In fact they use GPS to guide the ball into the hole. Basically all Tiger had to do was get the ball somewhere on the green -- anywhere. Although he hit a terrible shot and came nowhere close to the hole, the folks in the bunker took over and guided the ball home.

Is it fair? Well, Tiger is the biggest star in golf and it is critical to the networks and the corporate sponsors that he do well. No offense to Chris DiMarco, who is a very able and courageous golfer, but until he gets some big contracts with Nike or Callaway or some other major corporation he's not going to merit activation of the subsurface electromagnetic network at Augusta. This is just how life works.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 11, 2005; 10:03 AM ET
 
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