Viet Nam News
by Robert Bicknell
Can changing clubs make a difference in your game as a professional?
We read all the time that a well-known Tour pro decided to switch brands, mostly due to a ridiculous amount of money being waved in his/her face. What people do not realize is that many of these pros are not entirely stupid and usually demand that the company make a virtual copy of their old tried and true club, with minimal cosmetic or technical changes, and just a new brand stamped on it. What’s old is new… sort of.
But occasionally, the manufacturer might demand the player accept the designs they currently have, modified a bit to meet the player’s requirements. This can be something as simple as weighting, or grinding the sole a bit differently than what is actually on the market.
But, almost without exception, once the player has a brand new set of clubs in his brand new bag, his game usually goes completely to hell, at least for a short while.
Having said that, let’s look at the winner of last year’s Masters tournament, and the winner of the very first Asian Tour Ho Tram Viet Nam Open Championship, Sergio Garcia.
Following his breakthrough win here in Viet Nam, Sergio went on to have a hell of a year. He started playing much better and, as mentioned, finally won the Masters. The green jacket looked good on him. His confidence was soarking, but as happens with many pros following a big win, he succumbed to the lure of filthy lucre…
Everyone threw money in his direction, asking him to play their clubs, wear their clothes, endorse their products and, of course, appear in advertisements constantly. To be fair, it would be stupid to turn down all the endorsement money. Why be wealthy when you can be stinking rich? US$100 million isn’t what it used to be…
So, Sergio decided that the TaylorMade clubs which took him to a Masters and Ho Tram victory, as well as other wins on the tour that year, simply wasn’t good enough anymore (READ: They wouldn’t pay him as much as someone else) so he jumped to Callaway…
And went into the dumper, tying the highest amount of strokes (13) on the 15th hole at the Masters. Then he proceeded to miss back to back cut for the first time in 15 years while shanking and hacking his way around the Valero Texas Open.
In fact, what spurred this week’s column was the video of Sergio blowing a gasket and throwing his driver into the trees at the above mentioned tournament. Oh yeah, I forgot, he also shanked the next shot while trying to chip onto the green he just missed.
Yup, those Callaways are really performing well for him…
I have little doubt he will eventually make peace with the new clubs and return to form, but the question is how long it will take. His temper has always been his worst enemy and the madder he gets, the less likely he is to trust his new clubs.
Which leads to the next question, should you get angry on the golf course?
If you are a professional and playing golf for your living, then it’s understandable that tempers might get frayed a bit and the occasional screaming mental fit will emerge, but while it might feel good at the time, it’s really counterproductive and will hurt your round (and image) more than help it…
Trust me, I have been fighting my own temper for 40 years.
Tiger Woods was known for losing his mind and dropping F-bombs hither and yon. That should have been a tip off to the monumental meltdown which was coming at him like a runaway freight train.
Nowadays, he’s playing better than expected, given his condition, and he’s having fun out there. He no longer puts himself on a high pedestal and just takes each day as it comes. He’s grateful to be out there and it shows. He is more of a role model now than in the days he was winning the event, but losing himself.
I also laugh and enjoy myself more and more nowadays and it usually produces a better score, but if it doesn’t who cares?
We’re playing golf, which is better than sitting in an office. VNS