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Tour Confidential: The best swing in golf

Louis Oosthuizen
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Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa rode his sweet swing to consecutive victories at the Volvo Champions in Durban.

Every Sunday night, conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. It was a great week for great swings. Sweet-swinging Louis Oosthuizen won in South Africa while Adam Scott finished T8 in Hawaii with surfing buddy Benji Weatherley on his bag. Who has the best swing in golf?

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): Adam Scott always looks like there's nothing out of place and nothing moves that shouldn't. It's like looking in a mirror for me. Not.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Well, great swings are overrated. Watson, Nicklaus, Trevino, Floyd, Woods in 2013, you can find serious oddities in all of them. Steve Elkington had about as beautiful a swing as I ever saw. King Louie does too. Karrie Webb, in her prime -- what a swing. Luke Donald swings the club beautifully. The best swing in golf? Well, you have to define the term: what makes a swing best? Aesthetics? I could watch Ernie all day long, for the sheer awesomeness of the timing. But you'd have to say Woods' swing is more effective, going off the win column.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): I'll take King Louie. I just wish his passion for the game matched that swing of beauty.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): So many gorgeous swings in at the top level, but I'll go with Adam Scott, because his repeats the most.

Eamon Lynch, managing editor, (@eamonlynch): Beauty is in the eye of the ball holer. There are plenty of beautiful swings on Tour but pretty alone doesn't make a career, unless you're Anna Kournikova. To my mind the best swings are those that are trusted when it matters most, no matter how funky it looks. The swings of guys like Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd and Arnold Palmer never won any beauty contests, but they won plenty of golf tournaments.

Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): It's tempting to go off the board and pick Tiger because he won the most often last year. But I remember watching Woods and Adam Scott go head-to-head in the final round last year at Muirfield, and after Scott teed off on the 10th hole a fellow scribe blurted out, to no one in particular, "How does that guy ever lose?" Scott's swing really is that good, especially in person. He's my choice.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Hard not to go with Scott's. Looks a lot like Tiger looked when he was near-unbeatable, several swings ago.

2. Zach Johnson followed up a win at Kapalua with a T8 at the Sony. Is Johnson successfully proving that you don't have to be a bomb-and-gouger to win on the PGA Tour these days?

BAMBERGER: He is, just as Luke Donald and Brandt Snedeker have in different ways. But length is always an advantage. The closer you are to the hole after each shot, the better.

LYNCH: (Note to self: Don't refer to Johnson as a “journeyman” this week.) Class is still capable of winning on Tour, even if the course setups are dismally repetitive in favoring the long ball. We've seen a handful of short ballers win in the last year -- Ken Duke, Boo Weekley and D.A. Points, to name three -- but no one outside the top 100 in driving distance is compiling a record like Johnson’s.

SENS: He's confirming what we already knew. Mike Weir and Zach Johnson both won green jackets after Augusta was Tiger-proofed. Jim Furyk won the FedEx Cup a few years back. Jason Dufner won the PGA last year.

RITTER: He's proving that deft irons and grit can make up for shorter tee shots. Still can't say he's a favorite at the longest courses on Tour, but this has been impressive. The Ryder Cup can't get here fast enough for Zach.

PASSOV: Had to do some research here. Zach being "short" is a media myth, just like the myth that the bombers now dominate the PGA Tour. Just because he's great with his wedges doesn't automatically imply he isn't sufficiently long off the tee. It's not like he's Corey Pavin-short with his driver. Zach finished tied for 153rd in 2013 in driving distance, at 278.8 yards and had an excellent year. Brandt Snedeker had a phenomenal year and finished 137th in driving, at 281.3 yards. Webb Simpson enjoyed terrific success in '13, yet placed 111th in driving distance. Jason Dufner won the PGA and he finished 107th, at 285.9 yards. Gigantic hitting has its place, but these players and others prove that ball-striking, wedge-play and putting can give a player elite status.

GODICH: He's been doing that for years. Let's not forget how he won the 2007 Masters, by laying up on all of the par-5s in all four rounds.

VAN SICKLE: I've said it before but Zach remains the most underrated player in golf. He's quietly sneaking toward Hall of Fame territory, especially since Fred Couples got in with one major and 15 total wins. Zach has his major. What Zach is proving is that golf is a game of scoring, not a game of (sorry, Mr. Hogan) hitting.

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