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BEST IRON PLAYER Lee Westwood. It’s painful to watch the veteran Englishman around the greens yet he has won three dozen tournaments worldwide on the strength of his brawny ball striking. Another practitioner of the lost art of long irons, Sergio Garcia, was asked not long ago who’s the best iron player in golf. “Lee,” he said. “It’s not really close.”


BEST BUNKER PLAYER Luke Donald. For half a century Gary Player was the gold stan- dard out of the sand. At a recent Masters, the Black Knight was watching Donald on a clubhouse TV. After Donald nearly jarred an exceptionally tough bunker shot to a tucked pin, Player chortled, “Couldn’t have done it better myself!” Enough said.


BEST WORK ETHIC Kyle Stanley. This young turk makes Vijay Singh look like a slacker.


BEST PUTTER


Brandt Snedeker. The $11 million man wasn’t in the top 100 in any of the Tour’s ball-striking stats but was No. 1 by a mile in the fancy new


BEST DRIVER Rory McIlroy. Golf’s new No. 1 is only 5’9” but he can overpower any golf course with his big stick. McIlroy is not only cartoonishly long and straight but he’s also utterly fearless; on the European tour caddies talk about “the Rory line” off the tee, which is the most aggressive way to play every hole.


“strokes gained” putting metric. This merely quantifies what is made plain by Snedeker’s buttery action with the wand.


R •••


BEST FAIRWAY WOODS Henrik Stenson. The lanky Swede can, and often does, hit fairway woods so far and so straight it leads to an existential question: Is there such thing as a par-5 if this dude can carry his 3-wood 300 yards?


WINTER 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 31


PHOTO: JOANN DOST


PHOTO: JOANN DOST


PHOTO: PGA TOUR


PHOTO: USGA


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