Drain that putt like a bull-fighter!

"Putting is an art," says matador Pepin Liria," it's like killing the bull."

Bob Warters's picture
Fri, 3 May 2013
Drain that putt like a bull-fighter!

Next time you're standing over a five foot putt for par, imagine yourself facing a raging, snorting bull with a capacity 20,000 crowd around a hot, dusty arena baying for blood.

It's a strange image to conjure up but one which Spanish bull-fighter Pepin Liria has in mind on a regular basis when he takes to the golf course in a bid to improve on his eight handicap.

I met the 36-year-old a few years back during a round at Hacienda Del Alamo Golf Resort in Southern Spain with his great pal Miguel Angel Jimenez and he spoke with animation about his great passion for golf, with retirement as one of the world's greatest matadors approaching.

"I have been in the top ten of Spain's matadors for 13 years and I am coming to the end of my career, " he told me back then, through our interpreter Billy Sim, the resort's golf director. "Golf is a perfect sport for me to play."

So what are the similarities between golf and bull-fighting?

"It will surprise you but there are many. You need to be fit, you need to be flexible and you need the concentration. Also there is the rhythm of the golf swing - it is like the movement in the arena as you approach the bull, " he explained, as Jimenez in rat-a-tat-tat Spanish teased the bull-fighter about his poor alignment on the tee.

What part of the game does he find most difficult? I asked.

"It is the putting. It is an art, very much like the killing of the bull in my profession. It has to be very precise to make the kill," he said, fixing me with an icy stare and pointing the shaft of the putter like the matador delivers to coupe de grace to the bull's head.

A shiver shuddered down my spine. Was he kidding?

Apparently not. These Spanish take their golf - and their bull-fighting - very seriously indeed.

So next time you're faced with a tricky 'must hole' putt, puff out your chest, imagine striking that bull-fighter's pose and drain that sucker!

Article first published November 2006, updated May 2013