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WHO: Ryuji Imada
WHAT: 263-yard three-wood into the water
WHERE: 576-yard par-5 18th hole at TPC Sugarloaf
WHEN: First playoff hole of the AT&T Classic
Imada blew his chances by letting emotion, instead of reason, inform his decision to attempt a miracle shot over a water hazard from a downhill lie in the rough. Yes, Zach Johnson was in position to make birdie, but Imada, hitting first, had at best a one-in-10 chance of making the 252-yard carry over water and hitting the green. Had Imada laid up, his likelihood of a birdie would have jumped to three or four chances in 10.
Forget the Hero Shot; Divide and Conquer
When facing a decision to go for broke or lay up, the facts will almost always show that a miracle shot isn't the smart play. Instead, divide the shot in two. In Imada's situation (right), his best chance at birdie would've come from hitting two short irons of approximately the same distance. Situations vary, but the idea of breaking one hard shot into two easier ones usually makes sense.
John Elliott teaches at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Ill.