Eamon Darcy- Born 7 August 1952
A swing for the anti-lesson brigade.
When former famous Tour Star Miller Barber was asked why he did not make a more conventional backswing, he replied “When I was young, I tried to get more conventional with the way I swung a golf club. It was a total disaster. I just couldn’t swing like Jack Nicklaus or Sam Snead.”
He continued “After I loop the club to the inside on the downswing, I look like any other good player. The downswing is all that matters."
In the history of golf, there are many more examples of backswings that defy nature and logic as they loop, sway, tilt, and lift on the upward movement only to blossom into perfection as the swing returns to the ball in a conventional motion.
I believe it was the sports presenter David Feherty who found a fitting analogy for the strange backswing actions when he said the movement of Jim Furyk is like an octopus falling out of a tree.
In the same category and just as unconventional was Eamon Darcy. Darcy has a good portfolio to prove the point Miller Barber made 50 years ago.
As a winner of 18 official tournaments and competitor in four Ryder Cup teams, Darcy must have smiled at his many fellow competitors who spent long hours every day grooming their swings.
Like fellow 'Octopus Jim Furyk of the United States, Eamon was a consistent performer. He finished in the top 30 of the Order of Merit eight times in the eighties. He won the 1983 Benson & Hedges Spanish Open and 1987 Volvo Belgian Open, shooting a final round 64 to defeat Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam down the stretch.
This high-speed film shows Darcy's swing in the early eighties during his most successful years.
Darcy at contact showing good form.
“When I was young my passion was horses. I loved them. Absolutely loved them. I had my sights set on a career as a jockey. I was under nine stone, then suddenly I just sprouted up. I just started maturing and that was the end of it. Looking back, probably the best thing that ever happened to me was that I got bigger at that time,” Darcy would later say.
Fortunately for Darcy, he was offered a job as an assistant golf pro at his local golf club. Although the wages were a meager 3 pounds per week, it was a foot in the door for the 16-year-old lad who played a poor 12 handicap at the time.
The unique swing of Darcy was, as one would imagine, a self-developed creation. Like most assistant golf professionals Darcy was mostly a shop assistant and had little access to golf lessons.
“I was very hungry though. I had great ambitions and great goals. The first time I did well it wasn’t a surprise for me because I had been there so often in my mind long before I got on the Tour. I used to lie in bed night after night and I would imagine myself walking down the fairway, winning the tournament and making the speech and all that kind of stuff long before it happened,” said Darcy in his later years.
Eamon Darcy in the nineties- no swing changes
Darcy down the line.
In 2018 Eamon Darcy played his last competitive round on the Staysure Tour in Spain. The man with one of the most unusual swings in European Tour history was signing off and he did it in style, posting a 67 to be just one birdie short of shooting his age. Fifty years a pro, more than 800 tournaments around the world, 90 European Tour top 10s, and four wins meant he could leave with a broad satisfied smile.
Just as individual as his swing was the set-up procedure Eamon used for every shot. After a casual swipe made as a practice swing, the "Darce" would stand up to the ball and start the settling-in process. I always felt this set-up resembled a mother hen positioning herself over newly laid eggs, and then waggling her rump, until she found a comfortable position.
Following the waggle, Darcy would take a short peek at the target and then start the foot stomping process again and repeat it at least one more time after that. Darcy was a very consistent player off the tee, so no wonder he stuck with his preparation method.
Although unlikely, I wondered if this procedure had anything to do with Darcy's enormous foot size. Darcy had to have his golf shoes specially made to accommodate a size 14 (European) foot. One caddy story I heard was how he had to buy a pair from the pro shop after having forgotten his own at home. The biggest size the shop had was a 12. These were duly bought and a hole was cut in the toe area, which did not seem to affect the "Darce" as he played one of the best rounds of the day!
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