SOUTHPORT, England--Many average golfers have a tendency to stand farther away from the ball because it makes them feel powerful, but golf's best players often do just the opposite. Byron Nelson, a supreme ball-striker known for his accuracy, stood extremely close to the ball. Two modern stars, Greg Norman and Jim Furyk, have very different actions, but both men have their hands very close to their upper legs at address. In the heavy winds at Royal Birkdale, both are lurking near the top of the leader board through 36 holes of the British Open.
Norman noted Friday that he had been working on his address position leading up to the Open, trying to replicate how he played in his prime. "With the wind blowing as hard as it is, you need to be on top of the ball a little bit more," Norman said."In my heyday I always stood very, very close to the ball. My hands almost hit my thighs as my clubhead was coming through at impact."
It'll be interesting to see how Norman and Furyk fare this afternoon, when the wind is forecast to gust as high as 48 mph, and how other players modify their styles to cope in the wind.