Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Seve Ballesteros all won majors in their 20s. You could argue that they were golf geniuses, and that’s true, but what’s more important is that their genius was nurtured, not squelched. All five had unique swings, the first three overseen by teachers who allowed them to retain their individuality, while the latter two were self-taught, letting the flight of the ball instruct them.
Imagine if these great champs had been told to swing on a prescribed plane and grew up looking for evidence of their success or failure in that regard by watching video. Imagine if they had jumped from instructor to instructor looking for a system that would give them complete control of the golf ball and how never finding that secret would kill their confidence.
Not one current player under 30 has won a major. Why? Some of the blame goes to Tiger Woods, a genius himself who has taken a large portion of recent majors and intimidated many contenders. But mostly I think it is the teachers who rely on video in an effort to bring order out of the chaos of golf. There are a lot of great teachers out there, but too many have their players caught up in a never-ending quest to perfect what can’t be perfected, and in the process those players lose their instincts and confidence. Throw the camera away! Stick to fundamentals.
To me, Camilo Villegas appears to be on the right track, as does Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Charl Schwartzel (above) and Martin Kaymer. Who will separate himself? It won’t take long to find out, and it’ll be easy to tell them apart because they all swing differently.