Golfers are know to be many things: gifted athletes, intensely focused, clutch, powerful — the list of adjectives goes on and on. One thing they’re rarely credited with being? Great celebrators.
Over the years, there have some supremely bad celebrations by golfers — all of which could’ve been prevented.
Here’s a look at some of the most common celebrations in the game, guys who have really messed them up and how to not look like an idiot:
5. The Run-Around
There’s been a lot of guys who make putts or hole chip shots that get so damn excited that they feel the need to run around and celebrate — but there are way to do it. Some are good, some are bad.
Perhaps the worst came during the 1999 Ryder Cup. Honestly, except for a celebration by Tiger Woods and Payne Stewart sneering as he stalked a putt, that ’99 Ryder Cup featured some of the world’s worst celebrations. Take a look for yourself:
Now, if you’re going to do the run-around, you’ve got to keep yourself in check. Know your limitations. This is a theme that goes along with all celebrations, but especially when it comes to running.
The best run-around celebrations are simple — quick, unrehearsed, and genuine. Nothing fancy, nothing added — just a natural release of energy and nerves.
A guy who got it right? Tom Watson at the 1982 U.S. Open.
Some guys have gotten this right, but for the most part I am 100% against dancing on the PGA Tour under any circumstances. Period.
If you play golf, don’t dance. I don’t care how many majors you’ve won, putts you’ve holed or money you’ve earned. Dancing on the golf course needs to be outlawed.
If — however — you find yourself needing to cut loose, you need to figure out what’s popular and prefect it. Normally I wouldn’t suggest rehearsing a celebration, but if you must dance then it’s imperative that you know the steps and look good doing it. Few things are tougher to overcome than making a fool of yourself dancing to something you don’t understand.
One dance that worked out successfully? James Hahn at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
3. Playing to the Crowd
Sometimes players will take their celebration to the masses and try to get the crowd involved. Most of the time, this isn’t a very good idea. Case in point? David Duval at the 1999 Ryder Cup:
While I can understand the idea behind Duval’s celebration, it brings in repetition which is never a good idea (see below) when celebrating.
While it looked like Duval’s gesture did get the crowd going, it’s hard to give him credit since the American’s were on their home soil and amidst the greatest single round comeback in event history.
If you’re going to play to the crowd, don’t circle them — lead them in a chant or something but don’t pump your fists in one place, then move over and do the same thing in front of a different group of frans. It doesn’t work.
A player whose crowd play was well-done? Graeme McDowell at the 2012 Ryder Cup.
2. The High Five
The idea that we need to outline ways not to mess up a high-five is absurd, but PGA Tour pros are constantly finding a way to make the most mundane of celebrations look like rocket surgery.
There are plenty of famous examples of the high-five gone wrong. Of course, the most famous example is Paul Azinger and his caddie from the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry:
This was just awful. Not only are there four — count ’em four — high-fives in succession, there’s also a near miss and a hesitant, “oh, we’re still doing this?” pause in the middle that is distracting.
If you’re going to pull off the high-five, it needs to be something both you and the other party are expecting. As long as both people know it’s coming, it should be easy to pull off.
Most importantly, make sure you look at the other persons elbow when you’re going in for the high-five. Sound ridiculous? Try it next time — you’ll be astounded.
Perhaps there’s no more prevalent celebration in the world of golf than the fist pump — which means there are plenty of examples of fist pumps gone wrong.
Perhaps my favorite of these bad pumps came courtesy of three-time major champion Padraig Harrington:
Now, there was nothing super wrong with Paddy’s first pump other than the fact that it looks wildly awkward. He doesn’t quite get the necessary extension from his body the way he needed to to make the first pump stand out.
Instead of looking fierce, Harrington’s pump looked wimpy and awkward.
If you’re going to employ a fist pump next time you bury a putt or hole a chip, remember to extend your arm as far as you a can and that the higher you raise your fist, the cooler it will look. No need to keep your arms close to your body — get ’em up and get ’em out and you’ll look cool.
Looking for a fist-pump roll model? Obviously, it’s Tiger Woods.