This video looks at the execution of a simple pitch shot, made anything but simple by the extreme pressure of the moment. It is the 17th hole of the last match of the Ryder Cup. The outcome of the entire affair rests on this last 2-ball. Hunter Mahan is two-down, and needs an up-and-down to possibly extend the match, as it is certain that Graeme McDowell will make no worse than bogey, and being already two- up, win the match if Mahan makes bogey. Mahan has just hit an exceptional pitch on the previous hole, one more difficult than this one, only to watch McDowell hole a 20 footer to win the hole. Now it is a matter of simply making good contact and landing the ball close to a chosen spot on the green, then letting the ball run to the hole. Indeed, it is a shot that could be holed: were that to happen it would be one of the memorable shots in history. To his credit, Mahan requested this spot, the last out in a tightly contested Ryder Cup, and now all the pressure is focused here just short of the green, slightly uphill off of a tight lie.
We all know what transpires. Mahan hits behind the ball and barely gets it to the green, a crushing failure at a crucial moment. The camera angles give us an opportunity to analyze the technique used to hit the shot and see why, perhaps, it failed to come off. Certainly the pressure has a lot to do with it, but my point in the following video is that a different approach to hitting the shot may have mitigated the pressure and allowed the shot to come off as Mahan undoubtedly visualized. Watch and listen, then decide for yourselves.