Randall’s Rant: We wanna have fun, and we wanna watch Matt Wolff
Beautiful is boring.
It can lull you to sleep in golf.
The player who puts the club in all the classic positions may not be painting by numbers, but for spectators making their way around a PGA Tour event, it can look that way.
That’s why golf didn’t just get better and younger with Matthew Wolff winning the 3M Open Sunday in Minnesota.
It got a lot more fun.
It feels as if somebody just burst into the Louvre and knocked another body part off the Venus de Milo statue, penciled a mustache on “Mona Lisa” and wrapped a speedo around Michelangelo’s Dying Slave.
Wolff, 20, is to golf and style what surrealism is to art.
People seeing his swing for the first time look a lot like people who step in front of Picasso’s “Portrait of Sabartes” for the first time. They’re wondering why the nose is way the hell over there. Why the eyes don’t line up like they should. And why they are so damn intrigued by the distortion.
You watch Wolff swing for the first time, and you feel something visceral in a way you don’t feel watching most anyone else.
You smile, maybe chuckle, and then your face twists, trying to figure out how that all works.
What’s with that pre-shot trigger?
Is it a full-body waggle? Some kind of nervous tick? A Chubby Checker dance step?
Come on baby, let’s do the twist . . .
And that footwork? It’s more surreal distortion, a little bit of Elvis in its rebel pivot, with a little bit of Nicklaus in the way that front foot leaves the ground.
And the turn? The club goes all Miller Barber, straight up into the sky, but without the flying elbow Barber used as if he were opening an umbrella.
And Wolff’s loop to the inside on the way down? There seems to be some Jim Furyk in that, and some Lee Trevino, or maybe Ray Floyd. Who knows, really, outside his swing coach, George Gankas? Wolff’s swing looks different than anything we’ve ever seen.
That’s the fun in it.
It’s controlled chaos.
The emergence of youngsters Wolff, Collin Morikawa and Victor Hovland make this an even more potentially interesting generation of players.
There’s Bryson DeChambeau, the scientist, the antithesis of Wolff, the naturalist.
There’s Brooks Koepka, almost Hoganesque in his mysterious wiring and motivation.
There’s Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, whose honest, intelligent and analytical natures are gifts that help us all enjoy the game more.
There’s Jon Rahm, growing up before our eyes, the tempestuous tower of talent learning to harness the chemistry that makes him so fascinating to watch.
There’s Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland and so many others to go with icons Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
This feels like a golden era of characters as much as it is of players, and Wolff’s eccentric swing only adds to that.
We don’t know if Wolff will end up as one of the 10 best players of even this generation, but you could make a pretty good argument that his swing is already one of the 10 most unconventionally effective the game has ever seen.
And that’s a beautiful thing that won’t lull you to sleep on tournament weekends to come.