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19th Hole

Professional golfers who have never had a lesson

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“Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing, not a swing you saw on TV, or swing you wish you had. No, swing your swing.”

Arnold Palmer’s words have been quoted for years, and over time, it’s been proved that distinctive swings can more than get the job done in the professional sphere of golf.

But what about those who take it that one step further and not only swing their own swing but reach the upper echelons of the game without even taking lessons? While it is rare, some players are entirely self-taught and have had major success in the sport.

Here we’ll take a look at some tour pros that have used the swing they were blessed with to forge both a living and a legacy in the game.

Professional golfers who have never had a lesson

Lee Trevino won six major championships. Here he is after winning the 1972 Open Championship, his second Claret Jug.

Bubba Watson

The most-well know self-taught genius is Bubba Watson.

Watson taught himself to play as a kid by hitting whiffle balls in loops around his house, and his journey has taken him right to the very top, with 12 PGA Tour wins to his name, including two Masters titles.

The American taught himself to swing harder and harder as he progressed and invented his own version of golf: ‘Bubba Golf’, which involves Bubba often hitting either a giant cut or draw. 

His rope hook shot during the 2012 Masters playoff was the perfect example of a self-taught genius at work. No other player on tour would have seen the shot, let alone pull it off.

Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino’s career is highlighted by 6 major triumphs, and another perfect example of how your unique and individual swing can’t be taught but only learned.

After being discharged from the Marines, Trevino took a job as a club pro in El Paso, Texas and made side money gambling on himself in head to head matchups.

He would famously say about his swing: “No one who ever had lessons would have a swing like mine.”

Moe Norman

The Canadian, Moe Norman, is considered one of the best ball strikers of all time and was given the nickname “Pipeline Moe” out of respect for how pure he hit the ball.

The stories regarding Norman’s self-taught swing are legendary, with tales of how he could hit hundreds of balls without touching a blade of grass. 

Vijay Singh called him a genius, while Tiger Woods once said that Moe Norman and Ben Hogan were the only two golfers to “own their swings.”

Jim Herman

Another current pro who has never had a lesson is Jim Herman. Herman started at the age of 9 and learned the game by playing daily at Shawnee Lookout Golf Course in North Bend. The American plied his trade as an assistant pro and ironically an instructor before making it onto the PGA Tour.

Since then, Herman, who says “things like course management and strategy get ignored in the beginning stages of instruction”, has gone on to win three times on the PGA Tour.

As far as owning your own swing, Jim Furyk is another excellent example, whose only ever coach has been his father. While Luke Donald  throughout his career would only occasionally seek the council of his college golf coach, Pat Goss at Northwestern.

To succeed in a sport like golf is hard enough, but to do it without any lessons is almost miraculous. Are there any self-taught professionals we’ve missed? Let us know if so!

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bladehunter

    Mar 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Anybody saying moe who is simply too blind to see.

    Pure genius at work. His mental hurdles only kept him from being wealthy and famous. They didn’t cause him to strike a golf ball. You see. That drive comes form the high hurdles you have to cross when you have learning disabilities. It’s not some auto pilot gift. It takes 10x the work of capable folks. The secret is the work . Don’t demonize him for working hard. Demonize those who are born able mind and body and are just too lazy to do the work.

  2. B.S.A.

    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    I’m pretty sure Ben Hogan never had a lesson either, as was common in his day.

    • Martin

      Mar 27, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      I think he learned from Henry Picard. But Im sure there are other golfers who knows more about this. But you could claim that he was the best instructor himself.

    • Evan

      Mar 28, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      He may not of had formal lessons, but he watched and learned from Stan Leonard, Sam Byrd, Henry Picard, Jimmy Demaret, and of course Byron Nelson who he always looked up to. Hogan was far from a self-taught golfer.

  3. AM19

    Mar 27, 2021 at 9:55 am

    JB Holmes worked with Matt Killeen for atleast 7 years, so no idea why he’s on this list

  4. MOE NORMAM

    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Cool article thank you ! Moe Norman hands down all day every day accross all galaxies ! His heart was pured in the best sst puring machine , his swing makes Freddy and Tiger watch in awe , he could use one tee for year , he would have fun by playing holes backwards (leaving a longer shot into green than tee shot can go) , he hit it OB only once !
    NONE OF THE OTHER MENTIONEES are able to have Moe s resume and philosophy ! That s why Moe is the best , to understand in human terms he is a prophet , in DBZ terms he is Broli

    • Moe Who?

      Mar 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

      He has no resume. If he was as great as you seem to think he was, he would have won things. And before you say, “well, he had mental issues,” those same mental issues were most likely the cause of his obsession and what little success he did have. So, if you take away his mental issues, you’re left with probably nothing. He was a one-off, quirky guy with mental deficiencies and a knack for the game, far from the excellence you espouse.

      • Frank

        Mar 28, 2021 at 7:52 pm

        Made 25/32 cuts on PGA Tour including 5/5 cuts on the Champions Tour, shot 59 three times and broke over 30 course records, has multiple Canadian Tour wins… Not to mention 3 world #1 golfers Nick Falso, Nick Price, and Fred Couples together watched him hit balls and were super impressed, there is a photo of this instance all over the internet. How many 59’s have you shot and have you ever hit it well enough for 3 world #1 golfers to come watch you?

  5. Jack

    Mar 26, 2021 at 8:53 am

    I don’t think Larry Nelson ever had any formal instruction. He taught himself to play based on Hogan’s book.

    • Cagel

      Mar 27, 2021 at 8:45 am

      Good call, that’s qho I was about to mention as well. Also started at like 25 I think. Maybe the most underrated American golfer ever. It was a pure politics and a travesty that he never was a Ryder Cup captain. His career was much better than either DL III or Dave Stockton. Don’t believe me go look him up, 3 majors and a 9-3-1 record in Ryder Cups.

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19th Hole

Inside Bryson’s wonderfully whacky Saturday night ‘bro session’ 

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Bryson DeChambeau didn’t advance to the knockout stages of last week’s WGC Match Play, but if you think that meant a weekend off for the 27-year-old, then think again.

In a likely tongue-in-cheek ‘bro session’ video uploaded to TikTok, DeChambeau is seen working out with his friends, and they don’t hold back, with the Californian using his 2020 U.S. Open trophy as motivation.

Check out the video below.

It’s a sneak peak into the workout habits of Bryson and it looks as if him and his friends get as much fun out of the intense sessions as possible. In an interview with Men’s Health last year, DeChambeau revealed how tough his workout sessions are, saying:

“If I trained in the mornings, I wouldn’t be able to go out and play golf that day. I play golf, and then I see working out in the evening as my way of taking care of any aches or pains that need fixing.”

The next time Bryson will tee it up will be at Augusta National, where he’ll be looking to get his hands on the green jacket for the first time.

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19th Hole

‘Shut it!’ – Paul Casey puts disrespectful spectator in his place

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The fans were out in force over the past week in Austin and with it a heckler who made a terrible decision to interrupt Paul Casey over a shot.

During the first round of matches, footage has emerged of the Englishman backing off a shot before a visibly irritated Casey turns to a spectator in the crowd and says:

“Oy mate, shut it, pal. He (caddie Mark Fulcher) asked you nicely a minute ago. Now I’m asking you. Shut it. Okay?”

Fulcher then adds, “It’s the last time we ask, otherwise you’re out of here. And I’ll be looking forward to sending you actually.” to which Casey says to the spectator “He will, so shut it”, before Fulcher finishes by saying: “I don’t know why you’re smirking because it’s not big and it’s not clever.”

The incident can be seen below.

 

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A post shared by GOLF RABBLE (@golfrabble)

Casey ended the tournament with a win, loss, and a halve to exit the group stages of the event.

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19th Hole

How much each player won at the 2021 Dell Technologies Match Play

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Billy Horschel outlasted everyone to win the WGC Match Play in Austin, and it secured the American a payday of $1.82 million. Scottie Scheffler didn’t have his best game in Sunday’s final, but it was a very positive week for the 24-year-old who cashes the runner-up check worth $1.15 million.

With a total prize purse of $10.5 million up for grabs, here’s a look at how much each player won at the 2021 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.

1: Billy Horschel, $1,820,000

2: Scottie Scheffler, $1,150,000

3: Matt Kuchar, $740,000

4: Victor Perez, $600,000

Quarterfinals (T5)

Tommy Fleetwood, $337,000

Sergio Garcia, $3.37,000

Jon Rahm, $337,000

Brian Harman, $337,000

Round of 16 (T9)

Dylan Frittelli, $189,000

Kevin Streelman, $189,000

Mackenzie Hughes, $189,000

Robert MacIntyre, $189,000

Ian Poulter, $189,000

Erik von Rooyen, $189,000

Bubba Watson, $189,000

Jordan Spieth, $189,000

17th (2.5 points in group stage)

Ryan Palmer, $144,000

T18 (2 points)

Kevin Kisner, $113,700

Max Homa, $113,700

Antoine Rozner, $113,700

Xander Schauffele, $113,700

Joaquin Niemann, $113,700

Lee Westwood, $113,700

Patrick Cantlay, $113,700

Abraham Ancer, $113,700

Daniel Berger, $113,700

Matt Fitzpatrick, $113,700

T28 (1.5 points)

Dustin Johnson, $75,000

Adam Long, $75,000

J.T. Poston, $75,000

Patrick Reed, $75,000

Matt Wallace, $75,000

Webb Simpson, $75,000

Paul Casey, $75,000

Rory McIlroy, $75,000

Cameron Smith, $75,000

Tony Finau, $75,000

Will Zalatoris, $75,000

Matthew Wolff, $75,000

Marc Leishman, $75,000

Russell Henley, $75,000

T42 (1 point)

Kevin Na, $47,571.43

Justin Thomas, $47,571.43

Shane Lowry, $47,571.43

Bryson DeChambeau, $47,571.43

Jason Day, $47,571.43

Andy Sullivan, $47,571.42

Carlos Ortiz, $47,571.43

Hideki Matsuyama, $47,571.43

Jason Kokrak, $47,571.43

Bernd Wiesberger, $47,571.43

Viktor Hovland, $47,571.43

Harris English, $47,571.43

Brendon Todd, $47,571.42

Sungjae Im, $47,571.43

T56 (.5 points)

Collin Morikawa, $38,000

Si Woo Kim, $38,000

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, $38,000

Tyrrell Hatton, $38,000

Talor Gooch, $38,000

T61 (0 points)

Louis Oosthuizen, $35,750

Sebastian Munoz, $35,750

Lanto Griffin, $35,750

Corey Conners, $35,750

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