You golf historians out there will recognize the title of this post as the famous words of Roberto DeVicenzo. To refresh everyone’s memory, DeVicenzo said this after signing an incorrect scorecard that cost him a spot in a playoff with Bob Goalby for the 1968 Masters championship. Tommy Armour had recorded a 4 for DeVicenzo on number 17 when he’d really made a 3, and DeVicenzo didn’t catch the error.
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like Roberto, although my stupidity doesn’t have nearly the same consequences as did his.
After a stretch of the best golf of my life, I decided to make some changes to get even better. (Laughing, catcalls, and jeering are quite appropriate here.) I particularly thought I needed to be sure I minimized my chances of coming over the top. That’s been a recurring problem for me, although there was no good reason to think it was causing me a problem at the time. It was just to be sure, you know. That extra dose of medicine.
So I broke my own rules and made the mistake of listening to what commentators and golf tips people said. I settled on two things, both of which seemed plausible based on my swing history. I tried to flatten my swing out a little, a la Matt Kuchar, and I tried to slow down my transition. I’ve always been at risk for a quick transition, although I actually play best when I find a quick, but not too fast, tempo. A pro once tried to slow me down and then decided quicker was normal and better for me.
The end result was I lost my tempo and my ball position. My ball striking went down the tubes. I’m hitting everything on the heel, and shanks are a real risk for the first time in my life. I’ve never been a natural draw player, but now I can’t get any draw at all. I’m coming over the top more than I have in a long time. I have no balance.
I’ve been slowly recovering, and feel like I may be getting close again, although my scores haven’t yet caught up. My tempo isn’t natural yet, but I’m getting glimpses. My swing did flatten a bit and my arms are better extended. That’s probably what is making me hit it in the heel, and I need to get comfortable standing a little farther away from the ball at address. I used to stand too far away, so that’s a challenge.
Anyway, I may have learned my lesson (again). I like the Golf Channel and Golf Digest, but listening to the tips they give has always screwed me up. I guess I was looking for that one little extra thing to get me over the top. That pun was accidental, but is an entirely appropriate ending.
(Image from Revista El Grafico, July 18, 1950. Author not stated. Image via Wikipedia.)