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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 275
THE VIEW THE JOY OF WATCHING PLAYERS WHO HAVE 'IT' W ATCHING Tiger Woods miss just his 25th cut in 330 PGA Tour starts at this week’s LA Open I couldn’t help but wonder what it is that makes the 14- time major winner such compelling viewing. Sure, Tiger gets a lot of air time (some would say too much) but it’s more than just exposure. There’s something electric about Woods, an X Factor that, while not unique to him, is rare. I call it the ‘It’ factor. Some players have ‘It’ and some don’t. As a concept, it’s as elusive and indefinable as ‘par’ though undoubtedly equally real. And it’s what drives professional golf which is, after all, simply entertainment. Tiger has ‘It’. Brooke Henderson, too. Adam Scott less so though he’s definitely acquired ‘presence’ since winning a green jacket. Greg Norman had it in spades in his prime, his nemesis Nick Faldo barely a drop. ‘It’ is what draws us to watch certain golfers – whether it is to wish them well or ill – and it is what makes the game entertaining. John Daly had it, and not just because he was such a stunning hitter of the ball. At any given moment Daly was likely to do something special – possibly good, possibly bad – but almost always guaranteed to be entertaining. Arnold Palmer was the original ‘It’ golfer. Or maybe the second, after Ben Hogan. To watch old footage of ‘The King’ is to gaze upon a movie star playing world class golf. Palmer would have been equally successful had he been a rock star rather than a golfer and the game is eternally thankful to have had him. Seve Ballesteros was Europe’s ‘It’ man. “The players adored Seve,” says contemporary Mike Clayton. High praise indeed from those you are regularly beating. There is a new crop of ‘It’ players, too. Hannah Green is developing ‘It’ as evidenced by her stunning Women’s Australian Open performance. Devastated by a four-bogey finish in the second round after being within touching distance of the lead, Green hit back on day three with a six-under 66. That’s what ‘It’ players do. Green’s fellow West Australians Min Woo Lee and Curtis Luck are also blessed with the ‘It’ factor. Like Daly and Woods, they are completely different personalities but to watch either play golf is to see raw talent at work. Both have flair and creativity and see the game in a way few do. Watching them play is engrossing, the next incredible shot seemingly only ever a poor drive or impossible lie away. David Feherty once said people would buy tickets to watch Greg Norman read the paper. That’s true though much of it is down to celebrity. Put a persimmon driver in the man’s hands, however, and golfers would flock from miles around just to hear the rifle shot sound of contact and see the missile-like flight. ‘It’ can’t be taught nor can it be learned or bestowed. It can be revealed as a career goes on but it seems you’re either born with ‘It’ or you’re not. And thank goodness ‘It’ exists because without it, golf would likely be quite boring to watch. E ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. Hannah Green is part of the new crop of 'It' players.
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