I have a suggestion for anyone obsessing about building a perfect
swing: Take a look at Kenny Perry. This self-taught pro has an
unconventional swing and a funky putting stroke, and all he's
done is win six tournaments and $12.1 million in 17 years on the
PGA Tour. Perry's combined statistics from his back-to-back
victories at the Colonial and the Memorial were stupendous: He
hit 83% of the fairways, 81% of the greens and was 8 for 8 in
sand saves. On the greens Perry has a standard takeaway, but he
loops the putter out and then back in toward the ball, forcing
him to pull the ball slightly. In his full swing Perry stands up
a bit during his backswing, giving the impression that he lifts
the club, but his impeccable rhythm gets his club face square at
impact--the only place that matters. The key moment of Sunday's
round came on the par-4 9th hole, when Perry flushed an
eight-iron from 163 yards to a foot (above). That birdie, coupled
with playing partner Lee Janzen's bogey, pushed Perry's lead to
five and all but ended the tournament. Perry's success is a
reminder that plenty of world-class golfers--including Hogan,
Jones, Nicklaus and Snead--had idiosyncratic swings and that the
rest of us can be successful too if we trust what comes naturally.
FOUR COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CBS
SIX COLOR PHOTOS: ANDREW GOMBERT (7); JIM GUND (BACKGROUND)
COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT Mark Wood, 41, runs the Mark Wood Golf Academy in Fort Lauderdale and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.
No matter how you swing, it's impossible to play well without
good rhythm. I define rhythm not as a certain speed but as the
blending of each component of the swing into one seamless action.
The Feet-Together drill, in which you simply hit shots with your
feet pressed together, is a terrific way to hone your rhythm. You
can use any club, but the goal is to maintain your balance. The
important difference between a normal swing and one with your
feet together is that your body won't rotate as much or as
quickly as it does during a regular swing. The keys to doing the
drill successfully are to maintain solid posture at address (1),
keep your arms extended in the backswing (2) and stay balanced
through impact and up to the finish (3).
OUR TOP TEACHER SAYS...
"Here are my U.S. Open picks. Favorite: Tiger Woods, who is
rested and beginning to peak. Contenders: Vijay Singh, Stewart
Cink and Kenny Perry. Dark horse: Jeff Sluman. No chance: Sergio
Garcia and Phil Mickelson."
"Even more impressive than Annika Sorenstam's performance at
the Colonial was her return to the LPGA. With no rest she jumped
into a must-win situation, but she opened with a 62 and breezed
to her 44th career victory."
"The World Ranking has improved in recent years, but it still
has flaws. How can Sergio Garcia be 133rd on Tour in earnings but
14th in the ranking, while Chad Campbell is 11th in money but
70th in the world?"
"Muirfield Village could be the worst place in the U.S. to be
a member, because Jack Nicklaus is always tinkering with the
course. Members get maybe a month a year to enjoy all 18 holes."