An avid but woeful golfer unearthed an Aladdin lamp while searching for his ball in the woods. Figuring his luck couldn't get any worse; he rubbed it and out popped a genie.
“Yes!” the hack exclaimed, “I get three wishes.”
“Whoa, that's a myth,” the genie said. “You only get one wish.”
“Well, I've always wanted to have the perfect golf swing,” the hack replied.
“As you wish,” the genie said with a blink and a puff of smoke.
The golfer spotted his ball a few feet away, lined up his shot and WHIFF! He stepped back, took aim and swung again, striking only air.
“Hey, what’s the deal?” the golfer shouted. “I can’t hit the ball.”
“But your swing is flawless,” the genie quipped.
Some golfers go to great lengths in quest of the textbook swing. From private instruction and computer simulation to the most high-tech and expensive equipment money can buy, golf-lovers spend a lot of time and money, often in vain, to master their strokes.
But it's not always how you hit it, but where you hit it that counts. There are a lot of golfers with perfect form sitting in 19th holes and watching the pros with uglier swings on TV. There’s a reason one is on the PGA Tour and the other is on a bar stool.
So here's to the golfers with the magic touch – the ability to do everything wrong and still have everything work out right. To them, both past and present, we pick the five ugliest swings in golf:
1) Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey: Our winner hails from nearby Bishopville, SC, but we're not homers when it comes to breaking down his hideous swing. “Two Gloves,” who got his nickname for obvious reasons, was awarded the honor in an anonymous poll of his peers. It's a good thing Gainey dons two mitts with the wood-chopping motion he uses.
2) Jim Furyk: How can a 16-time winner, a major champion and a PGA Tour Player of the Year have such a high-handicapper swing? Fellow pros hate being paired with Furyk because they say watching him hurts their own swings. Among the colorful terms used to describe it, commentator Gary McCord has said it looks like Furyk is trying to swing inside a phone booth, while David Feherty called it “an octopus falling out of a tree.”
3) John Daly: Sorry, Long John, but the disparity between the awe-inspiring swing of your heyday and the half-speed strokes you use these days is sad enough to land you on this list. Once among the longest drivers with one of the biggest over swings, Daly now takes relative granny shots to compensate for his lack of accuracy. Maybe that's why he's sporting the multi-colored Partridge Family pants, so we don't notice his ugly stroke.
4) Nancy Lopez: Sorry, ladies, but you are not immune from critique. The LPGA Hall of Famer dominated the women's game with an unorthodox swing in which she moved her hands up to her swing plane just before her backswing. Of course, she famously dismissed the criticism by comparing herself to another great: “My swing is no uglier than Arnold Palmer's, and it's the same ugly swing every time.”
5) Arnold Palmer: Which brings us to our final selection. No, it's not fair to judge this legend by the honorary shot he will uncork at The Masters next month at the age of 85. But even back in his day Arnie wasn't known for his smooth swing. He taught himself to golf with one principle – hit it hard – and used that same approach to 95 wins. Further proof that your swing doesn’t have to be pretty – just effective.