BUNKER-TO-BUNKER: Inside Golf writers have their say!

By Michael Davis

WHEN once asked what he loved about Greg Norman, the venerable Metropolitan teaching professional, Brian Twite, simply said: “Norman takes the gallery with him. From the first tee, he strides confidently ahead of the crowd and says, ‘come with me’, and they all follow.”

I would pay a premium to see him play. He had it all – charisma, the broad shoulders, blond hair and dressed impeccably.

And of course he struck the ball as well as anyone who has played the game. Norman in full-flight was, I imagine, almost as exciting as watching Bradman make a century. That’s why Greg Norman tops my list.

Then it’s the swashbuckling Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros. Handsome as a movie star, innovative, supremely talented and charismatic. Tiger Woods is up there too, for his sheer golf talent, but he has never been that likeable.

Of the current crop, I love watching Bryson DeChambeau because of the brutal way he plays the game. And Brooks Koepka in the majors is usually a delight to behold.

I did not see much of Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player or Jack Nicklaus, not live anyway. Trevino was a hustler and told gags as he played. The crowd loved him. His golf swing was far from text-book but he could certainly play. Palmer, I suspect, won over the crowd similar to Norman. Nicklaus was a phenomenon, especially the way he putted. Player was the ultimate showman, a fine golfer who charmed the crowd.


By Michael Court

TAKE a bow Rory McIlroy … you deserve to. Because of the top-10 golfers in the world, you are probably the only one I’d cross the Swilcan Bridge to watch in action.

Rory’s the only one of the current stars that would entice me to pay money to watch him perform.

Maybe a year ago I’d have included Bryson DeChambeau in that category, but I’ve grown tired of his antics and desire to smash every decent golf course into submission.

Sadly, most of the golfers I would gladly fork out money to watch in action are past their best.

Even sadder is the fact I’d probably include John Daly and even the late Tommy “Thunder” Bolt in that category, in the hope they would do something dramatic like throw a journo’s camera up against a tree (remember Royal Sydney) or just hurl a golf club or two in disgust, as Bolt did countless times in his career.

So, it’s probably not a good thing that hackers like me want to see great golfers implode, occasionally.

Yet the ones who do the spectacular are just as captivating and at the top of my “must-watch” list were Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in their prime, Greg Norman – forever and ever, Lee Trevino, because he managed to somehow involve you in his golf game, talking incessantly while he was playing and forever joking around, but also throwing in some extraordinary shot-making in the process. And, of course Fred Couples – just because he’s Freddy!


By David Newbery

I DID see Laura Davies play and I can tell you that you wouldn’t want to get between her driver and ball. She hit the ball a country mile, but she also possessed a brilliant short game.

But I would have paid a premium to have seen Mickey Wright. Extraordinarily talented, she won 82 LPGA events including 13 majors. Ben Hogan said her swing was the best he had ever seen.

Long off the tee and a great iron player, Mickey got the world to take a hard look at women’s golf in the 1950-’60s.

A pro told me male amateurs should watch women pros because they hit the ball about the same distance with each club – except for Laura.

I’d pay a king’s ransom to watch Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Chi-Chi Rodríguez. They engaged the fans, told jokes and hit amazing golf shots with unusual swings.

Rodríguez would playfully put his hat over the hole whenever he made a birdie. And then he’d perform a “toreador dance” where he would make believe that the ball was a bull, his putter a sword and he would terminate the bull.

Charismatic Palmer showed how much fun golf could be and as a result kids took up the game and Trevino had his own brand of skill and wit.

They are one-offs compared to today’s mass-produced mechanical pros. But I would cross the road to watch Phil Mickelson for his short game and Bryson DeChambeau and Wilco Nienaber for their power.


By Larry Canning

WHEN golf’s research and development consisted of a truck full of lumberjacks, the best players had to find a way to launch their pill without it spiralling into the air like a cheap firecracker.

I never saw him play but it appeared Ben Hogan achieved this better than anyone. I would pay anything to have seen him play.

I did see Lee Trevino strike it though. 

No one made contact with the ball like him. His ability to maintain such a shallow strike but hit the ball so low was a thing of beauty. 

For as much for his pure ball striking as his sheer presence, I would pay my version of a fortune to watch Jack Nicklaus at his peak again. 

The first time I saw the Golden Bear I was an impressionable 12-year-old with short pants and long socks. 

Jack Nicklaus was a Nordic God swinging his driver like a mighty hammer. Eight-under par through nine … he drove the first green at Manly Golf Club in 1971 with a ball made of tree sap!

I wasn’t as awestruck when I first laid eyes on Tiger Woods but, then again, I’d well and truly grown out of short pants and long socks. 

I was definitely struck by his extraordinary and unique talent though. 

He has shot options in his bag no-one that’s ever played the game of golf has had.

But he might be a little out of my price range though. 

About Inside Golf

Australia's Golf News Leader, Inside Golf gives you in-depth coverage of Australian golf news, golf events, golf travel and holiday destinations, Australian and international golf course reviews, the hottest new golf gear and tips and drills to improve your golf game. Written by award-winning journalists, Inside Golf also features interviews with Australia's top professional golfers, the game's rising stars, industry leaders and golf equipment manufacturers. You can even win great golf prizes and equipment. It’s all in Inside Golf. FREE at Australian golf courses, driving ranges and golf retailers across Australia.

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