How many times in your life have you heard someone tell you to” just keep It simple stupid?” I know I’ve heard it a few times. Let me see if you’ve done this. You paid for your green fees, bought a driving range token, and headed for the driving range to warm up before your round. You hit a few balls, start worrying about how high your right elbow is getting during the back swing, then went to the first tee with that on your mind. You tee up that first ball, and as you take the club back, that darn right elbow is still on your mind. You block your shot, hit it right , and spend the rest of your round in misery.
I wondered, how many pro golfers do the same thing? I’m guessing there are quite a few.
I almost think Bubba Watson may be taking the right approach to this golf thing. He has a homemade swing, he doesn’t have a swing coach clogging up his head with all that technical crap, and he just goes out and plays golf. It’s won him a couple of tournaments and a major championship at this years Masters.
There has been a debate among the experts if his swing will stand the test of time. Some think he will run into problems down stream, and some think he is taking the correct approach. The thing that seems to determine Bubba’s success is more about how the golf course fits his eye, and not the technicalities of his swing.
A couple of golfers that are on the leaderboard this weekend at the Travelers Championship at the TPC Highlands course in Cromwell Conneticut that we haven’t seen for a while, who have openly stated they were playing poorly, and point to this problem as the source(of their problems).
Camilo Villegas, the popular 30 year old pro from Medellin, Columbia , who played his collegiate golf at the University of Florida, stated in an interview with the Golf Channel Saturday morning, that he had just gotten too technical with his golf swing, and it had pretty much destroyed his golf game. He also said he had decided to try and go out this weekend and just enjoy playing golf. It must be having some effect, because after the third round, he is tied for 12th, just four strokes back.
Villegas has had a horrible year and is 138th on the money list , and has only made 8 cuts in 15 tournaments this year. His best finish in 2012 was a T18 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The other golfer who has admittedly spent too much time on the course this year analyzing his swing problems is Stuart Appleby. Appleby, the 41 year old from Cohuna, Victoria is also in the hunt this week. He is currently T3 after the third round and , two strokes behind co-leaders Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher.
Appleby has fell to 181st on the PGA money list, making only 6 cuts in 14 tournaments. his best finish this year was a T21 at The Honda Classic back in March.
Last but not least, is Tiger Woods. Every time he is interviewed after a bad round of golf this year, he has a bevy of technical reasons why his complicated swing has let him down. I had said to everyone who would listen, he just needs to forget all those technicalities, and just go out and play golf.
This theory holds water. During the latter part of the 2011 season and the first part of the 2012 campaign, Tiger struggled with his golf swing. His head would bob up and down and he would pull hook his drive, or block it high and right. This kept him playing out of trouble and out of position all the time.
Now Tiger is by far one of the best scramblers I’ve ever seen. A trait he must have learned from Seve’s game. He is also one of the best pressure putters in golf history, rivaling Jack’s cool calm demeanor on the greens. This is great, but you can’t do it constantly, or it will eventually catch up with you. Lee Trevino said in an interview once, “two thing that never last in this world, dogs that chase cars, and Pro golfers putting for par.”
Tiger Woods struggled early in the season with this inconsistency, having one good round, then falling apart. Case in point, he was still struggling with his tee shots at Bay Hill, but was able to scramble to victory in a questionably weak field. He then went to the Masters where all of his rounds were in the 70’s and he ended up with a T40 finish.
The following tournament, was a missed cut at The Wells Fargo, where he shot 71-73. He then had a terrible Players Championship where he made the cut, but finished with another T40. Once again, his troubles were mainly due to his inconsistent driver.
When he showed up in Ohio for the Memorial, he finally looked comfortable on the tee, and with the help of a tremendous shot on the 16th hole, and another weak field, he won the first tournament in four years where didn’t appear to be fighting and worrying about his golf swing. It looked like he just went out and was having fun playing golf.
Photo Courtesy Yahoo images.
Follow me on Twitter @Spin_47