The Golf Channel, or perhaps Hertz or Pennzoil or whatever equipment company was paying him at the time, ran a commercial awhile back in which Arnold Palmer urged us all to be true to our swing, while providing a reminder that his wasn’t exactly textbook. Stop worrying about how you look and go get it, the King commanded.
This may or may not be great advice for the hacker brigade, but one suspects it’s a rule to live by for those that have ascended to the major leagues of professional golf. And an absolute fatwa for the true elite in the game.
Pete Cowen, the best teacher no one knows, said as much in a recent Golf Digest interview:
“When a player has success, there’s always a voice that whispers they can be even better if they make this one change. It can be disastrous, but Louis (Oosthuizen) never heard that voice.”
World #1 Lydia Ko, unsatisfied with the 14 wins and 2 major championships her swing has brought her in the first 19 years of her life, apparently has heard said voice, however.
Per the Daily Mail, she made the following remark while discussing her work with her new coach, Gary Gilchrist:
‘I tried a few lessons with him (Gilchrist) and we ripped the swing apart. I think that was really important and it’s been good to see the changes we’ve made.’
Now, I’d like to blame the golf media’s elevation of the Faldo-Leadbetter (ironically Lydia’s last coach) partnership into myth for this scourge, but Cowen implies such swing changes are a siren to those seeking perfection, in a game in which it doesn’t exist.
At the end of the day, Lydia and Gilchrist certainly understand the swing and the game better than the arm chair quarterbacks on the Internet. And the quote itself may be a reach; Lydia later appears to walk back the drastic nature of the changes she is implementing.
Nevertheless, Lydia and co may do well to spend a moment mulling the wisdom of the Cowen interview. And perhaps keep in mind that for every Faldo-esque transformation — and it’s important to remember that the man had already won a British Open with that crappy swing of his and we’ll never know the counterfactual had he persisted with it — there are a dozen Ian Baker Finches out there stuck in limbo…