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Nov 06

Wie, Leadbetter, and Winston Churchill

 

Winston Churchill’s Quotes Confirm Wie and Leadbetter?

 
 
Gary Player used to love quoting Winston Churchill – thought he was the greatest thing since Alexander the Great, and considering history, he’s probably right. Just for the “Miracle of Dunkirk” alone, we know that he was no wimp.

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Now, Michelle Wie is quoting him, and his words seem to make a lot of sense for the game of golf. The context in which she is quoting him pertains to an article in Golf Digest that suggests there are five things that have revived Wie’s game – but first, Churchill – A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, and the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Clever, eh?
Michelle swears by it, and has won twice in the last year. For more instructional purposes, she also keeps David Leadbetter nearby, and in the Gold Digest article, he elaborates on her five points.

TGW.com - The Golf Warehouse
Wie declares that she loves hitting the driver – well, who doesn’t? The number of aggressions you can placate from the past week with just this club are legion. Leadbetter reminds us to let the driver fly – it’s not such a surgical club, and if you’re swing is efficient, it’s going to work most of the time. He also reminds that it’s not so terrific to obsess over your greens hit in regulation. Go ahead and hit the thing.

2008 LPGA Qualifying School - Final Qualifying Tournament Day 5I whole-heartedly agree, coming from a childhood when I couldn’t reach the rough from the tee, and so was considered a fairly straight driver. The driver is the bliss club. Follow your bliss, and shorten your backswing a little.
Next, Wie says that she feels physically stronger. For those of us who are older, we need not to get in knots about our strength. Club technology has improved each year as I’ve grown weaker, so I don’t know the difference. My distance is about the same as it was thirty years ago. I feel good, and that’s a more important sensation than walking around as a gray-haired Arnold Schwarzenegger. Leadbetter suggests strengthening exercises for the lower body. That’s where distance is. Besides, if he means torso, I have more of that than I used to. Besides, I’ve just moved, so carrying six hundred boxes should do the trick, not to mention the 46 stairs at our relative’s house where we stayed for two weeks. Hey, I feel great.

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Wie says that her swing is much easier to repeat, and so is mine, so long as there is less of it to repeat. You may think that a shorter backswing dooms you to weakness, but it’s only taking off on a shorter runway. The engines can still rev in time. Leadbetter reminds us that it squares the club for us.

We’ve all seen Wie’s new putting style, and yes, it’s different. Leadbetter reassures us that putting is the one area where individualism is important. I must be one of the last golfers in the U.S. to jam my knees together like Palmer did, and it still feels good – or I straighten my left leg addressing the ball, and jam my bent right knee into it.

And as for reviving one’s passion, which Wie claims to have done, we have good old Winston Churchill. We have the realization as we age, that we have a myriad of successful compensations, more calm and experience. We are not left without weapons. Now, Winston had more serious problems than we do on the course. It was a matter of global life and death for him, so he made his “We shall fight them in the fields, we shall fight them in the, etc.” But, we don’t want to do that on the golf course. A little more meditation goes a long way. But that pessimist/optimist thing? If Gary Player, Michelle Wie, and Winston Churchill all agree on that, take out that driver and let ‘er rip, knowiong that life is good – very, very good.

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.