Friday, June 10, 2011

Have Funk, Perry And Calc Found What Was Missing?

   It's not just us.

   The best players in the world lose touch with their golf games, too. Sometimes it's a little thing, sometimes it's a big thing. Sometimes it's between the ears. Sometimes it's between the backswing and the downswing.

   Three of the top players in the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn this weekend are working through changes and each of them sounds excited by it.

   Fred Funk was considering taking the summer off he was hitting it so poorly. Everybody thinks Funk looks so happy and bouncy on the course -- and he does -- but he hadn't been feeling that way because the game had turned mean. He even apologized to his 15-year old son, Taylor, for showing him how not to act on the golf course.

   Last week, though, Funk decided to quit listening to advice others had given and to go back to playing the way he used to play, when he missed a fairway about once a month. Three holes into a U.S. Open qualifier Monday in Maryland, Funk had found his missing mojo. He played his way into the Open at Congressional, getting teary-eyed after realizing what he'd done, and regardless of how he plays at Rock Barn (he's bothered by a thumb problem right now) or at Congressional, Funk says he's back in a good place with golf again.

   Mark Calcavecchia got an unsolicited phone call from former tour player turned television commentator Bob Murphy recently. Murphy told Calc that he'd noticed how he got more hunched over on shorter putts. Stand taller, Murphy said, like you do on the long ones and Calcavecchia is already seeing a difference.

   And then there's Kenny Perry, who had worked himself into a swing pattern that had him hitting shots fat. He lost some of his power and crisp shots were becoming increasingly rare. A visit with an old swing coach has helped Perry get back on the right path, though there's still progress to be made.

   "I'm seeing signs of life," Perry said.