Tormented Kevin Na waggles his way to lead
Monday 14 May 2012
Kevin Na managed to secure the third-round lead at the Players Championship despite labouring with an infuriating inability to pull the trigger on his shots, annoying spectators, television commentators and even himself.
Na shot a bogey-free 68 to lead by a stroke from Matt Kuchar at TPC Sawgrass but despite his pinpoint shots, he was heckled at times by the crowd due to his lengthy practice strokes and multiple "waggles".
Course officials spoke to him several times during his round as he was put on the clock and had a bad time on the 16th. Na said his troubles began at Augusta last year but he has yet to work out fully why he finds it so difficult to take his shots and needs to go through a lengthy routine on each shot.
"I changed my setup starting at the Masters last year. I was trying to get more forward, trying to get the backswing more up. And because my balance at the setup is totally different, I don't feel comfortable," he said.
"I'm trying to get comfortable with my waggles. It's usually a little waggle, half waggle, little waggle, half waggle, and boom, supposed to pull the trigger. But if it doesn't work, I've got to go in pairs. So it'll go four; and if it doesn't work, it'll go six; and after that, just there's a lot going on in my head.
"I'm not being nice to myself, trust me. I'm ripping myself. But you know, there's so much on the line that I just have to sometimes back off. As ugly and as painful as it is, believe me, it's really tough for me, and I'm trying".
Na says he understands the frustrations of crowds and viewers and said it takes a toll on him. "It's pretty high stress. I mean, after I get done, I'm pretty tired because not only am I grinding for the golf tournament but I'm fighting within myself in my mind and trying to play a round of golf without backing off, without all this extra thing going on. Trust me, I get ripped, a lot. I know television, twitterers and fans are tired of me backing off.
"I understand people being frustrated with me backing off, but all I can tell you guys is honestly, I'm trying, and it's hard for me, too. Just bear with me and hopefully we get that [Sunday] round in."
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