with Robert Bicknell
Having taught golf for 35 years, with 21 of them being in Viet Nam, you would think that I could claim to have seen everything by now. Yet, with all the new players taking up the game without a clue as to what they are doing, I still get surprised from time to time.
If this was a Monty Python skit, it would have to be "The Ministry of Funny Golf Swings".
In this particular case, I was helping another pro with his swing at the driving range earlier in the week and in the next slot was a player who transformed a simple golf swing into what looked like when un-rhythmic gymnastics meets spasmodic contortions.
In short, I have never seen anything like it.
In a nutshell, the player gripped his driver, bent over until the shaft was an inch above the ground, raised up and lowered down twice more. He then (while still bent over) pushed the club forward before drawing it back to him twice. He then straightened up to something somewhat resembling a correct golf stance and proceeded to raise the head of the driver vertically over his head with arms outstretched, as if he was trying to reach the roof of the range. He then dropped his hands down to an "almost, sort of accidentally correct" position. He then waited a second or two before swinging the club in a wild wiping motion.
Yes, the ball flew towards the left side nets before snapping back 100 yards to hit the nets on the right side.
The other pro remarked, "how extraordinary" but in a derisive, disbelieving tone with his eyes as wide as saucers.
I just stood there and twitched, knowing I would have nightmares that night and I was right. My wife said I twitched and muttered all night long. There are some things that I should never see.
This guy made Jim Furyk's "octopus falling out of a tree" swing look absolutely poetic. Like Sam Snead, except more fluid if humanly possible.
My question has got to be, "what could possibly possess someone to remotely think that those movements resembled any sort of golf swing on this planet?" I mean, c'mon, there are endless videos available and enough TV programmes on golf to see what a good swing looks like.
Where this guy picked up this movement is one of those unexplained mysteries of the universe, right up there with the Platypus and Justin Bieber's popularity.
At first, the other pro thought it might be some sort of weird drill that his teacher asked him to do, but there was no teacher there, nor was there any possible, conceivable benefit to those motions. In short, it was no drill. That was his swing.
It would be different if the guy actually hit great shots with it, but no. He wasn't even close to square contact and with that motion, I cannot envision any possible way to square up the club at impact.
OK, next case … on to The Open Championship which will be almost over by the time this column goes to press, so allow me to sneak in my predictions as usual, but please don't rush out to lay down a bet because I am almost never right.
My picks to win it would be: Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and (just for the fun of it) David Duval.
For those of you new to the game, Duval was the best player in the world at one stage of his career, and a constant thorn in Tiger Woods' s side. Unfortunately, he went through a series of personal and professional setbacks which really sent him into a tailspin. Health and financial problems, marital problems … you name it and poor old Duval went through it.
So, it would be nice to see him get back on track and into the mix again. He was a very steady performer and a dangerous opponent in his prime – just what the golf world needs while Tiger is still trying stay healthy enough to contend in a major, and until Rory McIlroy figures out how to win using his new equipment.
If Adam Scott wins, expect Greg Norman to be over the moon... — VNS