ORLANDO – The topic of a swing’s aesthetic is kind of an odd one in golf.
Really, it’s strange there continues to even be a conversation at all about whether the beauty of someone’s motion matters. Isn’t the point of golf about how one hits the ball, not how it looks?
It’s a discussion that’s made waves recently with Braden Thornberry, the 2017 Haskins Award winner, and Matt Wolff, the 2018 Phil Mickelson Award recipient (for top freshman), both boasting unorthodox swings.
The pair has been vocal, too, about hearing past comments doubting that their swings would work.
That brings us to Jim Furyk.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and 17-time PGA Tour winner, may be the poster child of succeeding with an unconventional swing. The 48-year-old is competing in this week’s PNC Father/Son Challenge alongside his father, Mike, who has been his son’s only swing coach.
With both together, it made us wonder: What doubt did the future U.S. Open winner hear about his swing growing up?
Jim pointed out that he didn’t hear much, but that was mainly because people tend to restrain themselves from going straight up to a teenager and criticizing his or her motion. But his coach wasn’t exempt.
“I think dad took probably a lot more questioning and I’m sure it was kind of a sense of pride … when I finally realized I was established on Tour and my swing would hold up,” Jim said. “I think it was probably a moment of satisfaction as well.”
His father confirmed that sentiment.
Mike also offered an illuminating anecdote from his son’s college recruitment days about people doubting Jim’s swing and how he dealt with it:
“There was a funny story. A college coach came in to recruit Jim and he watched him play in the high school state championships and (Jim) went out with his friends and (the coach) took Linda, my wife, and I to dinner and it was this nice steak restaurant. He said something about, ‘I can’t wait to get Jim down to our school so I can change that swing.’ I said, ‘Coach, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.’ He goes, ‘Oh, you know it needs to be changed, too.’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t ever want it to be changed, but you eliminated yourself from the recruiting process and I just want to thank you for doing that and dinner as well. He won’t be coming your way.’”
And that is how it’s done!
The elder Furyk also relayed that on the recruiting trail he heard Mike Holder, then Oklahoma State’s legendary men’s golf head coach and now the school’s athletic director, comment that his son’s swing wouldn’t hold up.
“I know Mike’s thought about that a few times, and that’s my satisfaction,” Mike Furyk said, laughing.
All these years later, though, Holder was among the vocal supporters of Wolff’s unorthodox swing in his recruitment process.
At one point, Holder point blank asked Wolff, “You know what I think about your swing?”
The recruit didn’t really know what to say, so Holder finished his thought: “The answer you should give me is, ‘I don’t care what you think.’”
That has to be music to Mike Furyk’s ears. As his son has proven, swing your swing and don’t pay attention to what the doubters think.