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Golf Outside The Box

Chesson Hadley and Patrick Reed are at the forefront of a new wave of golfers that don't fit the norm.
Chesson Hadley and Patrick Reed are at the forefront of a new wave of golfers that don’t fit the norm.

This is the way the cookie cutter crumbles.

For years now golf, especially men’s golf on the pro side, has been trapped in a stereotype of its own making.


Blonde young men in bland-looking clothes with Stepford swings and impeccable manners. They were the gentlemen doing – as the Kinks sang in A Well Respected Man – all the best things so conservatively.

Nothing wrong with that. Except it was a little numbing.

Suddenly, there’s a thaw on the horizon. It may be for better. It may be for worse. But it is definitely for the different.

And the latter is the best part of finding out that:

  • Frenchman Victor Dubuisson stopped going to school before he was a teenager and has played golf every day since he was 8 years old. We have just begun to peel back the layers of the sweet onion that is his life story.
  • Sunday in Miami we got a bigger whiff of Patrick Reed whose post-victory interview at the WGC-Cadillac was full of enough hubris to impress even Donald Trump.

    Turns out Reed, like Dubuisson also in his 20s, has had a rough early ride in his life. His full backstory is loaded with questions and not a lot of answers.

    Hmmm. Intrigue.

  • Chesson Hadley, who won on the PGA Tour in Puerto Rico last week is a live wire, all wound up and unafraid to call himself an “idiot” when he plays badly. Last year at a Web.com Tour event he was asked what his caddie told him to do on the tee box of an important hole late in the final round of an event he won.

    “Smoke dawg and send it,” was Hadley’s reply.

    (Translation: Hit the driver hard and let it go.)

Outliers have been few and far between in professional golf. Miguel Ángel Jiménez and his Qigong warmup; Ian Poulter and his clothes and cars and tweets; John Daly and his travails; Vijay Singh and his deer antler spray.

Stories like this have been rare.

Change is in the air.

In recent weeks we have learned that even the redoubtable Jordan Spieth, on a bad day, can be a whiner and hothead. Which means he’s human.

As the grasp of the English language of the Korean women on the LPGA Tour improves, we are learning that the bright colors they wear don’t, in their minds, clash. They think, instead, that the American women are rather boringly attired.

This is more good grist for the mill.

Keep it coming, I say.

 

– Brian Hewitt

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