After the first three extra holes, the American was leading by a shot. The real drama arrived after Hamilton left his approach into into 18 short. Thirty-six yards short to be precise.
“It wasn’t an overly difficult shot. All you’re doing is putting,” recalled Hamilton in an interview with PGATour.com.
With Els comfortably on the green, Hamilton knew he had to get down in two. He proceeded to use his 14-degree Md hybrid from 36 yards and knock the ball to within three-feet of the cup. He’d guaranteed himself a tap in par and his first major win. It was the 13th time in 14 attempts that week Hamilton had successfully used the club to get up and down from off the green.
“That little shot he played on the last hole. I saw him play it quite a few times,” Els said afterwards. “I don’t know what club he uses… but every time he used it, I think he got up and down.”
Levin was overheard standing behind the 18th green that day saying: “Todd was the Most Valuable Player and that was the Most Valuable Club.”
While speaking to us, Levin also revealed a rumour he heard in the months following the 2004 Open. He had been told one player had asked the USGA to inspect the legality of the Md hybrid Hamilton had used. He has never been able to verify if the rumour was true, but a Golf Digest story published several years later confirmed Sonartec had received a call from the R&A to see if the club conformed to the Rules of Golf.
Todd Hamilton in bunkered
This Sonartec feature first appeared in issue 148 of bunkered (published: June 2016).