Top 10 Ugliest Swings

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10 Ugliest Pro Swings By John Garrity I thought that beauty was in the eye of the beholder — until I saw former NBA star Charles Barkley swing a golf club. Now I accept that some things are inherently, indisputably, comically, irredeemably ugly. When Sir Charles, left, surrounds a golf ball with his knee-flexing, false-starting, head-bobbing, foot-shuffling, shoulder-diving parody of a grand mal seizure, the golf gods cover their eyes and the swing gurus catch the first plane out of town. So when I was asked to compile a list of the ugliest swings in professional golf, past and present, I rated the golfers on a scale of 1 to 5 "Barkleys." A swing that scores zero on the Barkley scale is a museum-ready pass at the ball combining perfect posture, swing plane and tempo — e.g., Tiger Woods, circa 2001. A five on the Barkley scale is ... well, a Barkley. These are not "bad" swings, I hasten to add. They are the less-than-lovely swings of great players who just happen to take the clubhead through some rough neighborhoods on its way to the perfect impact position.
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2. Moe Norman Canada's golfing savant invented a swing so ugly that it became a selling point. Packaged as "Natural Golf," Norman's straight-armed, flat-footed, single-axis swipe at the ball has won thousands of converts, but Tour players would sooner golf in tights than take on Tiger and Phil with such a nerdy swing.
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3. Hubert Green "I don't try to analyze my swing," Green said in the 70s, when he was one of the game's top players. "I looked at it once on film and almost got sick." Green's swing was short and fast with a pronounced wrist cock; from the top he'd hang on his right side and flip at the ball with his wrists. Jim Murray wrote, "His swing looks like a drunk trying to find a keyhole in the dark."
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4. Nancy Lopez "My swing is no uglier than Arnold Palmer's" the LPGA Hall of Famer once said, "and it's the same ugly swing every time." In other words, it was repeatable. But it's a miracle that Lopez was able to dominate women's golf for as long as she did with that slow-as-molasses backswing and loopy swing plane.
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5. Jim Furyk The PGA Tour media guide asserts that Furyk "possesses one of the Tour's less orthodox swings." That's like saying that Britney Spears possesses one of California's less orthodox parenting styles. The former U.S. Open champ takes the club back with very little hip turn and pokes it straight up at the sky before looping it around and smacking the ball from the inside. David Feherty has likened Furyk's action to "an octopus falling out of a tree."
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6. Miller Barber "When Barber swings," a fellow pro once said, "it looks as if his golf club gets caught in a clothesline." A two-time Ryder Cupper and three-time U.S. Senior Open champion, Barber took the club back on the outside and then poked it straight up in the air. It's anybody's guess how he got the clubface square at impact.
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7. Allen Doyle Doyle looks like the duffer on the next mat when he tees it up at his driving range in LaGrange, Ga., but he's won four senior majors with his slap-shot mechanics. (He was, in fact, a college hockey star.) Doyle says his golf swing is flat because he used to practice in a room with a low ceiling.
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8. Justin Leonard Texas is usually blamed for Leonard's belt-high-and-off-the-left-hip follow through, the theory being that low-trajectory shots were mandatory when he was growing up in Dallas. But Texans Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson managed to hit the ball without banging themselves on the back and shoulders with the club.
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9. Craig Parry They call him "Popeye" for his bulging forearms, but that's because nobody has thought of a cute moniker for his looping, over-the-top chop at the ball. Johnny Miller famously remarked that Ben Hogan "would have puked" if he'd seen Parry swing.
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10. Jim Thorpe You'd think the son of a course superintendent would swing like somebody who grew up on a golf course. Not so with Thorpe, 58, who is still winning on the Champions Tour with a leaning, whiplash follow-through borrowed from a 20 handicapper. "The one thing I know," says Thorpe, "is that I can beat all the guys who make fun of my golf swing."
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1. Eamonn Darcy Plenty of golfers have a flying right elbow, but Darcy, the four-time Ryder Cupper from Ireland, has an anatomical spin cycle. Body parts fly in random directions until the ball explodes out of the bodily pandemonium, a total surprise. Peter Dobreiner wrote that Darcy hit his finesse shots "like a man picking a five-pound note from a grate with tongs." Countered Darcy: "Pretty swings don't make money." More from The Best Dressed Golfers of All Time Interview: Natalie Gulbis Jim Furyk Answers Your Questions