By Todd Hamilton with Matthew Rudy
Name: Todd Hamilton
Born: October 18, 1965
Birthplace: Dallas, TX
Height, weight: 6-feet-1; 195
Driver: TaylorMade R540XD, 9.5°, and r7
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Clubhead speed: 119 mph
Ball speed: 168 mph
Launch angle: 10 degrees
2004 average driving distance: 284.5 yards
Most of the courses on the PGA Tour demand that you hit one kind of shot -- long and high. I can hit it high if I have to, but nobody confused my ball flight at this year's British Open with Ernie Els'. Calling what I hit a fade is sometimes pretty generous.
I don't have the prettiest or most efficient swing, but it's reliable. I know I can hit the shots I need, even under pressure. Believe it or not, I have bad Japanese television to thank.
In 11 years on the Asian and Japanese tours, I was by myself a lot of the time -- my family mostly stayed home, in McKinney, Tex., while I traveled. During tournament weeks across Asia (Thana City, Thailand, anyone?), I could either sit in my hotel room and watch Japanese game shows I didn't understand or stay at the course and work on my swing. So I spent hours at the range, figuring out what worked for me and going with it, because the alternative was so fricking boring!
I've never had a swing coach because, honestly, I can't stand people telling me what to do. It's not that I haven't ever gotten any swing advice. I just don't want to have to rely on somebody else to make my swing work, especially when I might be 3,000 miles away from the teacher and his video camera. If I have a bad round, I want it to be on me. The good ones, like Sunday at the Open, are on me, too, and that's very satisfying.