Here's one of the biggest paradoxes in golf: Most of today's Tour
players idolize Ben Hogan and say he was the best ball striker in
history, but almost none of them emulate Hogan's swing. Most
modern stars, including Tiger Woods and Charles Howell, have
upright swings that keep the club in front of their bodies as
much as possible, while Hogan had a flat swing plane that kept
the club behind his back longer. The only player at the Tour
Championship with a swing resembling Hogan's was Chad Campbell,
which is no coincidence. Both are self-taught Texans who honed
their games in the Lone Star State's howling winds. The
similarities between Campbell and Hogan are most apparent during
the transition from the backswing to the downswing. Like Hogan,
Campbell generates accuracy and enormous power by keeping his
back coiled and facing the target while dropping the club to the
inside, rather than pushing it out toward the ball. That helped
him knock down pins in Hoganesque fashion in Houston, as he did
on Sunday at 13, where he stiffed a sand wedge (above) for a
birdie that gave him a four-stroke lead. Swing style isn't the
only thing Campbell has in common with Hogan. Both are late
bloomers--Hogan got his first Tour victory at 27, two years
younger than Campbell, who got his first win on Sunday at 29.
Hogan didn't win his first major until he was 34. My guess is
that Campbell won't have to wait that long.
OUR TOP TEACHER SAYS...
"The Tour players are tired of seeing Tiger Woods win everything,
so they'll vote for Vijay Singh as player of the year even though
Woods deserves the honor. Tiger has more wins (five to four) in
stronger events, and he easily won the Vardon Trophy, by almost a
half-stroke over Singh."
"Charlie Howell will win a slew of Tour events once he learns
to relax and be less self-critical. Several years ago I was a
guest at the Howells', and he made me stay up past midnight
analyzing his swing. He's even more intense today."
"Sadly, the buzz about Annika Sorenstam and women's golf is
gone. How else to explain the dearth of media coverage last week
as Annika shattered LPGA scoring records while winning the Mizuno
Classic, her sixth victory of the year?"
"If Michelle Wie's parents don't drastically scale back her
tournament schedule, this amazingly talented 14-year-old will be
burned out by 18."
THE TIP/THE HOGAN MOVE
Many golfers have a swing that is too upright, which forces the
club outside the target line and causes errant shots. To maximize
power and accuracy, you should try to swing like Ben Hogan and
Chad Campbell by using a flatter motion during which the club
stays behind the foot line (in red). That allows you to attack
the ball from the inside and to play the powerful, controlled
draw favored by great ball strikers.
1 SETUP With your back facing the target, position the ball so
that it's even with your left toe.
2 BACKSWING Take the club back to the inside--not out and up--so
your hands are by your right shoulder at the top.
3 DOWNSWING As you rotate, keep your back coiled. Notice how the
arms and club lag longer than usual.
4 IMPACT Fully extend your arms, striking the inside of the ball.
You should feel resistance in your left side.
FIVE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ABC (CAMPBELL)
COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT Patti McGowan owns Knack 4 Golf, based at Lake Nona Golf Club inOrlando, and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.
FOUR COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: ANDREW GOMBERT; JIM GUND (BACKGROUND)