Golf 'Wiseman' Preaches Relaxation

HAVEN, Wis. -- Loren Roberts has finished T-2 and T-8 in the last two U.S. Senior Opens. If the 52-year-old does well at Whistling Straits this week, some of the credit will go to Manuel de la Torre. Roberts visited the octogenarian instructor Monday afternoon at Milwaukee CC. "Absolutely one of golf's wisemen," said Roberts. "What's so great about Manuel is that he talks more about the mental side of the game and the positive side a lot more than the mechanical side."

Among de la Torre's "pearls of wisdoms," as Roberts calls them, is a belief that the swing should be free and full and uncomplicated. "It's more or less about relaxing through the golf swing," Roberts said. "You just need to get up there and make your full swing through the ball -- just get up there and make [your] swing and release the club. I have a tendency to kind of hold on to the handle a little too much. He just got me to relax and free it up."

This is the second time Roberts has consulted the de la Torre, having seen him prior to his T-2 finish in the 1997 Greater Milwaukee Open. Two weeks after that, Roberts won the CVS Charity Classic, one of his eight PGA Tour victories.

"He has a great golf mind," Roberts said of de la Torre. "He tries to keep it very unconfusing. That's what I appreciate. By the time you get to [my] age, you've got a pretty good idea of what you can do and what you can't. You just need to go ahead and trust what you've got and play. That's what he's about, swinging the clubhead. Swing at the target. It's not about positions."

-- Bill Fields