How She Hit That: Inbee Park's everywoman consistency
Rory McIlroy has had an explosive start to his career, collecting four major championships by beating courses into submission with his overpowering long game.
Over on the LPGA, another 26-year-old has had an even more impressive run, and has done it with a far less flashy set of tools.
Inbee Park won her sixth major last week, at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, lulling the field to sleep with a mistake-free display of fairways, greens and fine putting. She played 56 holes without a bogey, and shot weekend rounds of 66-68 to beat Sei Young Kim by five and win her third consecutive Women's PGA.
Park doesn't have a spectacular-looking swing, but it is simple and repeatable -- traits the amateur player would do well to copy, says top Virginia teacher Adam Smith. "She swings on one plane, her backswing goes back slowly and low to the ground and comes back to the ball the exact same way," says Smith, who is based at Salisbury Country Club, in Midlothian. "Her shoulders and hips turn together gracefully and powerfully, but she doesn't over-swing."
"Tempo" is a common catchword in instruction, but one that many amateur players forget about in their haste to smash the ball, says Smith. "You're far better off having a controlled, even three-quarter swing with good tempo," he says. "Every time Inbee finishes her swing, she's in perfect balance. The more simple you can keep it, the easier it is to keep the ball in play. Being a great putter is a big help, too."