Is weight a barrier to better golf?

Golf chief says putting and chipping is more important than fitness

Bob Warters's picture
Fri, 21 Dec 2001

Is weight a barrier to better golf?

According to triumphant Walker Cup captain Peter McEvoy, size no longer matters.

Peter McEvoy - weight no barrier.
Despite the fashionable introduction of fitness coaches, dieticians and psychologists, McEvoy says carrying a few pounds of extra weight around the waistline is no barrier to success.

His comments follow the recent failure of Kirsty Taylor to be selected to compete in a tournament by the English selectors, because she was deemed to be overweight.

"If staying trim is so vital, how come players like Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are among the most successful in the professional game?" he argues.

Monty's metabolism is the key.

He could probably add John Daly, Laura Davies and Mark Calcavecchia to that list as well as Ian Woosnam, Shigeki Maruyama and US Seniors Tour player of the year Allen Doyle, all of whom have won this year without drastically changing their diet.

"If they were still amateurs, there would presumably be people on their backs telling them they had to shed a stone apiece," he says, adding that most seem to play better when carrying a bit of extra weight.

"It’s something to do with natural metabolism and rhythm," he tells ‘Telegraph Sport.’

Darren Clarke - weighty performer.

While he admits that most pro golfers like to be accepted as athletes and has great respect for muscular Tiger Woods’ fitness regime, McEvoy, whom for years was the world’s top amateur with an ample waistline, does not believe golfers gain anything by being too finely tuned.

"It would be churlish to suggest that it does not help a golfer to be fit but it worries me that impressionable young men and women are being made to think that it is more important than it actually is.

"In my opinion, fitness is not as important as chipping and putting. I would sooner a player worked eight hours on putting than running and doing press-ups because, in the final analysis, nothing matters more than getting the ball in the hole."

*Heaviest champion is reputed to be Chris Patton who weighed in at around 22 stone when winning the US Amateur title in 1989. He went on to finish top amateur in the 1990 US Masters(39th) and win the Australian Professional Matchplay.

Do you agree with Peter McEvoy’s assessment – or should we all get fitter to improve our golf? Give your opinion on The Forum.