Brian Harman’s ‘waggle’ is going viral. Here’s why the Open leader does it
One club waggle.
And another. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another. Twelve club waggles in all, over about 20 seconds on Saturday on the 12th tee at Royal Liverpool, and then a swing. And then some thoughts. The Sky Sports broadcast of the sequence had been captured by Twitter account @ukgolfguy and commented on — and shared and commented on.
It wasn’t a one-off, either. Throughout the Open Championship’s third round, the move (or moves) popped up ahead of shots, and you could almost hear the observers’ keyboards:
What in the name of King Charles III is Brian Harman doing?
Of course, it was said with a few more adjectives and adverbs than that.
But before we dig in further, know this, too: Harman is your 54-hole leader at the Open, and by a whopping five strokes at that. So the man should have some runway to do as he feels is required to put ball in hole. For the most part. No one will argue it’s tough on the eyes. Golf also has slow-play concerns, and waggling muddies up the proceedings.
So what gives? Can’t you just, you know, take one waggle? Brooks Koepka, a proponent of ready, aim, fire, would tell you that.
But that’s him.
On the NBC broadcast, analyst Brad Faxon said as much. Notably, Harman has been doing this for a while, including on putts. On the 17th green on Saturday, for example, his routine over a 3-foot par putt included eight phantom strokes behind the ball.
Then a make.
“It reminds me a little bit of [tennis star] Novak Djokovic when he does all these waggles and looks,” Faxon said. “He just takes his time until he’s ready. That’s what a routine is supposed to do.”
Colt Knost said as much, too.
He’s a longtime pro and a U.S. Amateur winner. Today, he’s an analyst for CBS and a host for GOLF’s Subpar podcast, among numerous other duties. And on Saturday afternoon, he weighed in over Twitter, too.
“The number of looks at the target and waggles will be interesting to watch tomorrow with Harman,” he wrote. “When he’s uncomfortable it gets much worse!”
I wanted to know more, so I emailed him.
“Hey, Colt! Just saw your tweet on Harman and the club waggle, so I’m curious for your thoughts, if you have a second.
“Why does a player do that?
“And what do you think when you watch it at the course or on the broadcast?”
“It’s just his nervous tick,” Knost wrote back. “Some players get faster. Some get slower and do all the waggles and looks. Others back off a lot.
“Pressure is a b—-!”
And there were the thoughts from Justin Parsons.
He’s Harman’s coach. He’s well-versed on all that is the golf swing, and a GOLF Top 100 Teacher. He’s also in Hoylake this week, and I texted him at 8:45 p.m. his time, a couple hours after Harman had finished his third-round 69.
“Hi, Justin! Congrats on the strong play this week. If you have a second, I have a question about Brian. I was wondering — what is his thought with his pre-shot routine? There’s chatter that it’s a little lengthy, but it also seems purposeful to me. But I’m curious about your thoughts! Good luck to the team tomorrow.”
“Very aware of it and something he’s working on, doesn’t pull the trigger until he’s ready.”
We’ll end things this way:
I texted back one more question.
“Do you think that could help in a scenario like tomorrow, to get him in a good spot amidst the pressure of a major?”
“Yes — he’s in a good space mentally.”