Even the top professionals cringe and speak in whispers when they go back to what Hinako Shibuno said to her caddie before playing her second shot into the 18th green at the AIG Women’s British Open she won at Woburn Golf Club. “I can’t believe that she said what she said,” is how they tend to put it.
That’s as far as they can go without using the dreaded word “shank.”
The context of Shibuno’s remark was that it would be embarrassing if she were to hit such a shot at such a moment – and the mere thought of it reduced her and her caddie to giggles. The outbreak over, though, she hit a towering shot into the green before bashing home an 18-footer for the winning birdie.
There are, of course, allied afflictions to shanking. Afflictions such as Sergio García’s old gripping and regripping of his club (sometimes more than 20 times), along with the more common and equally disturbing condition of putting yips. Of the more famous “yippers,” Tommy Armour, was reduced to giving up on tournament play because of them, while Bernhard Lange...
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