HOYLAKE, England — When a singular player—especially one who the larger golf fandom is unfamiliar with—gets more airtime than they usually do, people start picking up on certain things. For Brian Harman, it's his waggling. His series of short-and-sharp movements that grew longer and longer as the round went on, sparking some backlash on social media.
Waggles, generally, are really important. It's why so many players do them. It's their way of releasing nervous energy, preventing the crucial muscles in players' wrists and hands from getting too tense. When the pressure ticks up, so do the nerves. That's when you start seeing players doing more and more waggles; a desperate attempt to relieve that extra tension.
There are a few different types of waggles, though. Here's a few of the most common ones, which you may be able to spot during the final round of the 2023 Open Championship.
Waggle Type 1: Short Shufflers
Harman is what I'd consider a short shuffler. Guys who prefer a higher amount of shorter, quicker waggles. They're the fidgety types who will often move their feet around, too. I'd consider Lee Trevino the iconic short shuffler, and would probably add Viktor Hovland alongside Harman as the low short shuffers this week.
"There are lots of similarities to the way Harman and Trevino move their lower body before their shot," said Harman's coach Justin Parsons.
Waggle Type 2: Big Hingers
On the opposite end of the spectrum are what I term the big hingers. These guys make bigger, slower, wristier waggles. The goal, primarily, is to loosen muscles in the wrists. A slightly older school style, Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones are a couple big hingers, and Jason Dufner is perhaps the best example of the modern era. Matt Fitzpatrick is an uptempo big hinger. A nice combination, in my humble opinion.
Waggle Type 3: Swing Rehersers
Some players forgo waggles and instead focus on demonstrating a move they hope to repeat in their golf swing. Let's call these guys swing rehersers. A takeaway rehersal is the most common move: Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, and Mike Weir all do this. Adrián Otaegui is a newly-minted swing reherser. Starting this week, he started making a full practice backswing before he make his swing.
"It’s new. It’s a feeling I had in practice rounds. I quite like the feeling, used it on the driving range, then introduced it into my routine."
Waggle Type 4: Silent Standers
Some players almost look like they meditate over the golf ball. They stand very still over the ball, sometimes for a surprisingly long time, almost in a trance. Any waggles they do have are quite muted. I'd consider Cam Smith a silent stander—he takes one log look at the target, then swings. Cam Young, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, and Max Homa are some notable silent standers who pop to mind.
Waggle Type 5: Busy Regrippers
We all know the busy regrippers. They tend to come in for some heat because it's so noticeable. People are used to seeing the clubhead waggle around, but when it's a hand regripping, people aren't as used to it—especially when the number of regrips increases under pressure. Sergio Garcia is the most well known busy regripper. Xander Schauffle is probably the best current example.
I'd probably put Rory McIlroy in this class, too, because of the way he'll lift and replace his thumb in the moments before his shot, though his re-gripping is shorter and more subtle.