I'm not really much of a soapbox type of guy. I don't sit here and scream about the youth movement or the belly putters; hot driver faces, greens speeds or groove length. The game of golf is a fairly simple idea when you think about it, but it is one that forces you to follow a few simple rules. Always abide by honors. Shake hands after the round. Be quiet when your competitor is hitting. And more importantly, be honest. It isn't just an honesty with your playing partners, it's the honesty that rests inside of us all. You know that squirmy feeling you get when you do something you know you shouldn't have done? That isn't the best thing to have when you're out on the golf course, trying to convince someone you made a 4 when you really made a 5. It's just the game.
So when video came out of Kevin Na's whiff in Vegas, it seemed that he'd be penalized for missing the golf ball, and while it might seem black and white, it isn't. The Rules of Golf might as well be called The Decisions of Golf, because you can't ever really go right or wrong in these types of situations. Na's deal is exactly that. Yes, you can't swing and miss a golf shot, but you are also allowed a "check swing" of sorts, thanks to Rule 14.
Have I ever heard of the "check swing" rule? No, I honestly haven't. I didn't know that when you addressed the golf ball, and took what looked like a full swing, you could deem that practice. It seems that no matter that talent level of a particular person, swinging and missing is swinging and missing.
What did Na say about it?
"I've done it on TV a few times...and I do it...probably one or two [times] a round," Na explained.
"I take [the club] back; it doesn’t feel good and then I stop. I’ll take a step back."
"I'll take it back; it feels decent, and my transition is what I'm always working on. It's always my bad habit is I get quick," he said, presumably with a straight face. "And on the way down my transition doesn't feel right, and I try to stop, and obviously it's impossible for me to stop. The only way for me to stop is I have to come up and go over the ball."
First, once or twice a round? Come on. We in the golf blogging world would have had a field day with your videos if that was the case, so don't pull our legs. And secondly, Tiger stopping mid swing because something distracts him is one thing. Going above the ball and then holding on with one hand while you scratch your face is something completely different.
As a golf fan, I thought hit was hilarious, but as a golfer, I was appalled and a little upset at Na. This isn't golf, and for a guy that has always had a spotty track record, brushing it off like it was nothing is definitely the wrong way to go about it, and for me, this win in Vegas will always be tainted with an asterisk.
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