View Full Version : Opinions Regarding Sergio's Countless Waggles?

06-18-2002, 11:08 AM
I'm sure alot of you may have watched some of the U.S. Open this past weekend. Spain's Sergio Garcia - one of the great young golf players in the world (and the one dubbed with the burden as having the best chance of challenging Tiger in the near future) has developed a very unusual (and irritating to watch) pre-shot routine. He waggles the club over the ball and re-grips the club with his hands anywhere from 15 to as many as 25 times before every shot - except when putting when the length of time he spends over the ball is about average.

Playing with him on the last day, the announcers noted that Tiger never looked at Sergio when Sergio was preparing to shoot - so as not to possibly get unnerved. The announcer, Johnny Miller commented often as to how long Sergio was standing over the ball - usually 30-40 seconds. Is it no wonder why he was so chastised by some of the rowdy NY spectators who could just take no more and started counting aloud his number of waggles?

Did anyone else find this very strange, irritating and IMO just plain unacceptable for a world class golfer - who is admired by millions and a role model for countless young golfers? I know there is no specific set limit for how long a pro golfer is allowed to stand over the ball - but perhaps there should be! As in pro pool, if the pace of play of the group is not keeping up with the field and deemed as unacceptable, they will be warned and placed on a time clock, and then if it occurs again penalized. The last thing we need in golf (or pool) is more agonizing slow players - and I don't care what level they play at!

I know this has nothing directly to do with pool, but it's very similar to playing against or watching a match involving a pool player with a very slow pre-shot routine and how best to deal with it particularly if your routine is much faster - or even how to deal with it as a spectator without it detrimentally affecting your viewing enjoyment of the match? I've never found Buddy Hall as hard to watch - but at times Charlie and Max have both gotten to me.

Bottom line - there is no easy answer other than try to do what Tiger did and not even look and not let it affect your own game in any way - hard to do. Hopefully this is just a phase Sergio is going through, and his peers, his coach and others closest to him will convince him that if he is to be an admired and popular champion - he will need to change this habit. Opinions from others? - Chris in NC

06-18-2002, 01:00 PM
Chris, I found it painful to watch. My friends and I had just finished a round and watched from the 19th hole in horror. I was really looking forward to seeing Sergio charge but after watching him this week I just find his style annoying.

Chris, could you see if Dragon would e-mail me at RJKato1970@aol.com? Haven't been in contact with him for a while and I'd like to catch up.


06-18-2002, 01:06 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Chris in NC:</font><hr> He waggles the club over the ball and re-grips the club with his hands anywhere from 15 to as many as 25 times before every shot - except when putting when the length of time he spends over the ball is about average.

Playing with him on the last day, the announcers noted that Tiger never looked at Sergio when Sergio was preparing to shoot - so as not to possibly get unnerved. <hr></blockquote>

That's part of the reason Tiger's a champ. He keeps his cool.

The first 14.1 match I played in the CSPL was vs. a guy named Mick. His pre-shot routine was quite unnerving. I finally just amused myself by counting his practice strokes. (22 was the minimum, 37 was the maximum). Unless there's a shot clock there's not a whole lot one can do about it.

06-18-2002, 01:46 PM
It was very upsetting to see even from my easy chair. He had me screaming at an inanimate object. I have since taken him off my admired list of golfers. In the pool vain I will not match up twice with a slow nineballer. I also left a very good pool team because they wouldn't get rid of a very good but extremly slow player. I can't stand it and think it is inexcusable. I work at a golf course and I can tell you the young beginning golfers will be doing what Garcia was doing this very week.

06-18-2002, 03:36 PM
Tiger is so focused on his game, that he probably doesn't care what Sergio does......He was only interested in the results. Yes, 25 waggles was extremely boring to watch but 10 to 15 waggles seems acceptable. Johnny Archer has been know not even to watch his table while playing a match, he only takes quick glances at the table. Earl Strickland seems to get in a zombie like trance watching his opponent run out. As far as pace of play, I think a player should find a rhythm that fits their inner clock. One thing is for sure, Sergio didn't make any mistakes because he was rushed.....his pace of play was like watching paint dry!! Some people feel the same way about watching Buddy play. It's hard to argue with results, I once watched Buddy run three consecutive racks and a lot of people around me didn't even realize it. Slow Death!!!

06-18-2002, 03:40 PM
Yup. Sergio's waggle was excrutiating to watch, wasn't it? I guess it's the instructor in me that feels he's going through something and it's temporary. But unfortunately for the rest of us, we have to watch him go through it.

I suspect he's been searching for something that's been missing in his game for awhile and happened to stumble on it messing around with his waggle. I expect at some point he'll realize that he can accomplish what he needs without it, but not until he goes through that painful process.

It happened to me in golf too. I found that with my short irons, if I opened the clubface right away in my takeaway, I could snap it closed on impact and prevent a block/push. It worked too. I was drawing nice little pitch shots onto the green. It was totally unorthodox and looked rather silly. After a few rounds with all that going on, I realized I didn't need to go through all those gyrations to accomplish what I needed. It's just a process we go throught sometimes.

I can relate to what he's going through. I'm not ready to say it's unprofessional. Yet.


06-18-2002, 03:48 PM
If that's his game, and it got him to where he is/wants to be, then he should be able to play that way. I'm not a golfer, but I don't think 30-40 seconds is too long to wait. Don't confuse playing with spectating. If you want movement, watch hockey instead.

As for pool, I learned how to shoot slowly (change-up my rhythm) by guys in their 50s and 60s. Following a slow shooter threw my normal rhythm off, so I adapted, by shooting even slower than they did! I don't get "the rush" of fast shooting, but my goal was to win the games. Slowing down also a good tool to use against a quick-shooter.

You might argue that there should be a clock, like in basketball or chess (although, I don't think chess time is per move, necessarily), but I don't agree. If you're playing in a structured competition then you're there for the duration. You could also bring up that pro-nine tourneys have a shot-clock, but I bet it has more to do with TV time, than the game itself.

Also, what's reasonable? What if the timer was set 'shorter' than your usual requirement--Say I average 15 sec/shot, and you average 10, could you handle a 5 second limit? (Note, I just threw the numbers in, adjust them as needed.) I do not believe that 'faster' equates with 'better', either, unless you're racing motorcycles, cars, dogs, horses, turtles, rats, or sea-monkeys.

As it's been said: "There's more to life, than speeding it up."

(Note: I would agree to a short time-limit per shot in cases of "abuse". However, I think a true player/judge would know when that line is crossed, especially if there is a generous "standard time-limit".)

06-18-2002, 04:44 PM
I grew impatient waiting for him to hit the @!#*^ thing. This must be something new. I have never noticed him doing this before. Tiger did well to block this out and not let it affect his game.

06-18-2002, 04:51 PM
I guese you never saw "the Bear" (Jack Nickalus) play huh? or has it been too long ago for you to remember?

Jack was notroious for being a slow player, in fact he recieved a penalty of a stroke for 'slow play' in the 60s.

Sergio was borderline slow play, I bet the judges of today wouldn't even consider this, but they did 40 years ago against Jack. At least Sergio and Tiger finished in a timely manner, just by being on the tee when Phil M. was putting on the 18th.

Jack's slow play had him teeing off on the 17th hole when the group ahead of them were putting on the 18th.

Perspective, gentlemen, Perspective..

06-18-2002, 04:57 PM
Chris quote:
Did anyone else find this very strange, irritating and IMO just plain unacceptable for a world class golfer - who is admired by millions and a role model for countless young golfers?

unacceptable to whom??? and you think that slow play is being a bad role model?? I really find this post way more offensive than anything sergio did at the US open.

06-18-2002, 05:02 PM
Cheesemouse quote:
I also left a very good pool team because they wouldn't get rid of a very good but extremly slow player. I can't stand it and think it is inexcusable.

you guys keep using words such as inexcusable, role models and unacceptable..... this guy is one of the best golfers in the world I dont think he cares too much that a couple of people who have nothing better to do than complain about the way he plays.. when hes cashing his million dollar cheques.

for you to be so childish to leave a team because one of your teammates plays slow to me is inexcusable and shows me how self serving you really are.

06-18-2002, 05:08 PM
I went through a time playing pool where i was really trying to focus on my game.. making sure I was taking as many variables in my shot into account before I hit the ball... This for a time caused me to play quite slow as I had not had many of these things in my preshot routine before... I played a match during this period with a very good A player from here named Paul Lee we were playing 8-ball races to 5 for 10 bucks a set I heard him mumble one time for me to hurry up and shoot... it was all I could do to keep myself from bursting out laughing. At that point I knew I had Paul and could keep him all day... final score 7 sets to 3

06-18-2002, 05:51 PM
There was a time, several years ago, when I would take 10 to 12 practice strokes regularly. At the time I was shooting very good. A teamate began to tease me about the practice strokes I took and was counting them aloud as I was preparing to shoot. It totally ruined my game for a short while. It was an obvious attempt to shark me when we were practicing together. He always thought he should be able to beat me, but never could. His counting my strokes drew my attention away from my shots and caused me to focus on how many practice strokes I was taking. I finally was able to totally block him out. I think my anger at his doing this helped me to become more focused. I was determined that his sharking technique was not going to allow him to beat me.

06-18-2002, 06:27 PM
Your chastising me for quiting the 'team' didn't work. I know I did the correct thing. I was tired of having every TD warning our team that we would be docked games if anyone complained of our slow play. We were one of the best teams in the state but our team was only know as that team with that slow guy. I didn't need that. As for Garcia, of course, he doesn't care about me or you for that matter but in golf the etiquette of the game lays down that you avoid doing things that take your playing partners out of their game; it's a matter of politeness. What he does is unnecessary and the whole golf community knows it.

06-18-2002, 07:16 PM
I knew I couldn't get 100% agreement on this issue, but you obviously are in the clear minority in your opinion here. Downtown, with all due respect if you don't see why a player with an agonizingly long pre-shot routine is detrimental to the game of golf (particularly public course golf), then you obviously know nothing about the game.

No, Sergio may not play public course golf anymore, but he unquestionably is a role model in the world spotlight for millions that do. One slow player on the golf course not only is agonizing on the rest of his/her group, but holds up everyone behind them on the golf course and sets back the starting times for those that haven't even teed off yet! Slow play (even by a very few) results in the average round taking longer resulting in fewer total daily starting times available, which either increases the greens fees for everyone or decreases the revenue coming in for the courses, requiring everyone to take more time off to play a round, etc., etc. It's trickle down affect is far more serious than you may realize! At most courses, this will buy you a warning followed by an escort off the golf course if it continues.

The USGA in particular has strongly advocated for years AGAINST slow play as one of the major goals on their agenda. I don't see them likely using Sergio as a poster boy for their "no slow play" campaign. Yes, a player can make up for a slow pre-shot routine by not wasting time in other parts of their game - walking to the ball, club selection and starting to prepare to shoot or putt even before it's their turn (if not a disruption to the player whose turn it is).

I still maintain that even with all the talent in the world (not to mention his very likeable charismatic personality) this young man will not be truly embraced by the fans until he deals with this affliction - which I am confident that he will. - Chris in NC

06-18-2002, 10:26 PM
Sergio has been performing this pre-shot routine with multiple re-grips since the beginning of the year. At the January tournament in Hawaii, Sergio was re-gripping at least 30-35 times per shot. There have been quite a few noteable people in the golf profession (such as Dave Pelz and Johnny Miller's quips were criticism) that have critizied Sergio for his actions. Garcia has tried to cut down on the number of re-grips.

I believe his regripping is inexcusable. Sergio can and has played golf at a high level without the re-grips. Why doesn't Sergio re-grip when he's in a sand bunker? (penalty stroke if he makes contact with the sand before the shot) He hit some pretty good shots out of the bunkers without the re-grips. Maybe if he didn't regrip so much, the rain wouldn't have affected his play as much. ;-)

The average hacker tends to copy what they see. At one time everyone had to have a wild backswing because that's how John Daly swings. People by the exact same equipment that Tiger uses thinking that will make them play like Tiger. And yes, there will be golfers copying Sergio's re-grips too. They will try anything in order to improve their golf game.

Slow play is a cancer on golf especially on public golf courses. An 18 hole round should take about 4 hours to play. Really crappy golfers should be able to play 18 in this amount of time if they play 'ready golf'. Crap like what Sergio is doing would only lead to longer rounds, hotter tempers and less enjoyment on the course for everyone.

The PGA tour does have a 'shot clock' and can penalize players one stroke if they continue slow play after the group has been 'placed on the clock'. Unfortunately, very few penalties have been assessed.

I'm glad the croud was counting the re-grips and he is taking heat for his play. I hope he changes the routine soon before more hackers beginning performing the same routine. I like watching Sergio play (before the re-grips) and the enthusiasm he brings to the game. His oncourse mannerisms will only hurt his popularity and promote slow play.

Gary K.

06-19-2002, 12:39 AM
is this what this place has become about??. a bunch of old nitty's crying everytime someone does something out of the norm?? you morons think that just because MOST players play a certain way that EVERYONE HAS TOO.. you think if that player is not playing a certain way then he is somehow sharking... forgive me for this but that is such a pool players mentality... just because a very very large number of pool players out there think nothing of trying every cheap trick in the book to throw their playing partner off does not mean that someone who is obviously doing something that works for him at this moment that is not quite in the norm is doing that also. Dont you dare challenge my knowledge of any sport.. I played golf for years until my back couldnt take it anymore and I know full well what golf eticate is all about. Why dont you talk about all the assholes that talk while your shooting or move just before you take a shot or refuse to shake your hand after giving them a sound beating.... This place has truly become pathetic if you have nothing better to do than sit there and criticize someone elses (who is a million times better than you I might add) technique. Every year Jarmir Jagr comes out with some gay ass goal celebrating thing but hes still the best player in the NHL I cant wait to hear your comments about this in the comming season. Ive been reading nothing but crap on here lately but this thread is the smelliest one yet.

06-19-2002, 12:40 AM
Man I read a post of yours the other day about nothing but crap on here chris then you go and post garbage like this?

06-19-2002, 05:16 AM
D T's,
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>I played golf for years until my back couldnt take it anymore<hr></blockquote>
What's your excuse for pool??

06-19-2002, 06:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: d0wnt0wn:</font><hr>

a bunch of old nitty's

you morons

Dont you dare challenge my knowledge of any sport..

I know full well what golf eticate (it's "etiquette")

.... This place has truly become pathetic.
Ive been reading nothing but crap on here lately. <hr></blockquote>

I just picked out the really intelligent and thoughtful parts so I could read them over and over.

06-19-2002, 09:42 AM
anytime you want a crack at me let me know

06-19-2002, 09:43 AM
now ive seen it all when some D player comes on here to give me a spelling lesson

06-19-2002, 01:59 PM
As if I would ever be so lucky.......

06-19-2002, 02:29 PM
uh huh keep talkin

06-19-2002, 02:39 PM
Wolfin on line....what a waist of time...go play Stan T......

Cueless Joey
06-19-2002, 07:36 PM
Nomar of the Red Sox has this annoying routine of fixing his batting gloves then wiggles his feet but he hits over 300 every year so who cares? LOL

06-20-2002, 06:19 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: d0wnt0wn:</font><hr> now ive seen it all when some D player comes on here to give me a spelling lesson <hr></blockquote>

I've never claimed to be a great player. That has nothing to do with this particular discussion.

06-20-2002, 06:27 AM
Kevin Millar of the Florida Marlins does the same thing with his batting gloves, shoulder, and helmet. A few years back Derrick Jeter did a Nomar tribute in the batters box in the All Star Game. Baseball players are extremely quirky dudes it seems.

Kato~~~Nomar, he's the man!!!!!!

06-20-2002, 09:22 AM
sorry wally I was out of line

06-21-2002, 04:46 AM
I'm in total agreement with you about Sergio's pre-shot routine. It was a source of discussion between my son and I last weekend. His contention is that Sergio's overall pace of play is acceptable and therefore what he does from tee to green is all that counts. Hard to argue with him when Sergio does in fact play within the time limits specified. I believe that Sergio has fallen into a routine that he believes to be most benefical to his game. Unless he sees better results from something different he won't change. IMO, his waggles would be even more annoying to his opponents in match play. BTW, do you also play golf.

Paul Mon

06-21-2002, 05:59 AM
Paul, golf was my first love as a kid growing up in the NJ/NY metropolitan area. I played alot of junior and amateur golf, including USGA events. As an addicted player and low handicapper I continued playing in pain 2-3 times a week even after having had shoulder replacement surgery in 1987. I somehow managed to keep a good enough game to win 2 more club championships even with an artificial shoulder.

After 9 years of continually abusing my prosthetic shoulder on the golf course, on my 3rd replacement surgery in 1997 (at 40 years old) my surgeon informed me that this would be my last possible shoulder replacement - and that I'd better give up golf altogether if I wanted to have any use of my arm at all for the rest of my life. Since then, with daily exercises my shoulder has been great and pain free - and (very fortunately) allows me to play pool at a fairly high level pain free, with no limitations other than no jump shots, no masse shots and around a 20mph maximum break.

It's not been as hard as I thought it would to give up golf - particularly knowing that I had no choice. I was a big Golden Bear fan, and am now a big Tiger - having followed his career since he was a youngster. I now look forward (even more than ever) to watching the 4 majors on TV immensely, otherwise I don't follow it much at all. Paul, how about you?

06-21-2002, 07:48 AM
I been playing golf since I was 7 and maintain a respectable handicap (15). I've been fortunate living in Rochester NY to have seen two US Open's, 1 Ryder Cup, 1 US Amateur and next year we host the PGA Championship. This week the LPGA is in town. Golf is huge around here. I went through a rough period 3 years ago when my rotator cuff had to be operated on. It was more painful to shoot pool than to golf. Fortunately the surgery was successful and I can do both again.

best regards.............Paul

06-21-2002, 09:25 AM
I know how you both feel...before my shoulder surgery 4 years ago i couldn't lift my arm above my waist....ain't it nice to be pain free!