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Tom Watson-Space

In the early seventies, a three-way battle for the decades best player was in progress. It seemed the golden bear, Johnny Miller, and Tom Weiskopf were fighting toe to toe every week for the honors while players of high caliber like Gary Player and Lee Trevino were holding on to their coat tails. Then along came Tom Watson.

At the top of his backswing he uses the optimum amount of space and time(within the safe limits of his agility and strength) to change direction successfully.

Tom Watson brought a powerful upright swing with him, which was also long, balanced, and FAST!

There are so many qualities in the swing of Watson, that it is hard to decide which factor impresses the most.

Possibly the element that separates Tom Watson from the pack more than others is how he creates space.

The spatial factor, or the awareness of the space around you, really starts in the address. You assemble yourself so that you have enough space or room to swing.

In the dynamic part of the swing the awareness of making a good size-wheel in the expanse around your body is particularly important.

Yet if you bite off more than you can chew, it will pull you out of center and ruin your chances of making a good shot. Being too close will make it impossible to generate speed.

One of Watson`s biggest challengers in the seventies and similar in his setup quality is Gary Player. The little South African used clubs longer than standard to keep up with his much taller adversaries, and of course found himself standing further from the ball.

Flat planes, medium planes, and upright planes use the same amount of space, just at different angles.

Photos and much of the article text supplied by Bernard Cooke, film taken by Irv Schloss.

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