By Steven Pressfield | Published: September 18, 2013
Does anyone beside me know who Jim Furyk is?
Jim Furyk is a 16-time winner on the PGA tour, the 2003 U.S. Open champion—and possessor of the single weirdest, loopiest, most homemade swing on the planet. As I write this on Saturday, September 14th, Jim Furyk has just become the sixth golfer in history to shoot a 59 in PGA competition. He did it yesterday in the second round of the BMW Championship.
Which brings me to the Foolscap Method and to the notion of the Authentic Swing. Today my new book, The Authentic Swing, becomes available to all First Look Access members, in a special First Look Access bundle of paperback, eBook, and audiobook.
But back to Jim Furyk.
No one in the world has a swing like Jim’s. He stands impossibly close to the ball, grips the club with two fingers of his right hand overlapped; his club starts back “outside the plane,” rises straight up, assisted by a flying right elbow, loops wildly inside at the top of the backswing, then drops into a slot so far inside that Jim’s right elbow brushes his right hip on the downswing, while both knees dip at impact in an action that cannot, cannot, cannot be repeatable under pressure—and yet Jim does it over and over.
That’s the Authentic Swing.
It’s not your Authentic Swing.
It’s not mine.
But it’s Jim Furyk’s.
And yesterday, while Tiger Woods was carding a 72, Jim (who’s Tiger’s good friend) was acing his buddy out by no fewer than thirteen shots.
I read a story about Jim Furyk when he was a kid. His dad was a golf pro. Jim already had that weird loopy swing and, though he was playing great golf for a youngster, he was afraid that he wasn’t “doing it right.” His father worried too. What about the future? Would Jim be able to compete at the highest levels with a swing that violated half the known laws of physics?
Together Jim and his dad worked to straighten Jim out. Father and son got out on the practice tee and labored mightily to bring Jim’s swing closer to “normal.” Jim was actually able to do it. He managed with great effort to swing “the proper way.” But he couldn’t hit the ball. He told his dad, “I can’t feel my swing.”
So Jim went back to his flying-right-elbow, knee-dipping, wildly-looping swing.
The rest, as they say, is history.
So if you’ve watched my videos on the Foolscap Method and you think my style sounds right or proper, take a deep breath and remember:
That’s what works for me.
It might not work for you.
The concept of the Authentic Swing is that each of us is endowed from birth with our own gift, our own style, our own unique talent and point of view. Our job is to find it and bring it forth.
“I believe that each of us possesses,” Bagger Vance began, “one true Authentic Swing that is ours alone. It is folly to try to teach us another, or to mold us to some ideal version of the perfect swing. Each player possesses only that one swing that he was born with, the swing that existed within him before he ever picked up a club. Like the statue of David, our Authentic Swing already exists, concealed within the stone … “
Please, take the Foolscap Method (or anything else I propose) with a major grain of salt. Tweak it. Modify it. Chuck it completely if you don’t like it.
Do what works for you.
If you’ll forgive me for quoting myself twice in a single blog post, here are the last few paragraphs from The Authentic Swing. I swear I did not fudge them to comport with Jim Furyk’s incredible round.
Are you a writer or an artist or an entrepreneur? Don’t copy me. Don’t do it my way. Work at four in the morning if that feels right. Work in the shower, work on the subway, work at the wheel of a moving taxi cab. Start at the end, play backward, write your stuff in Urdu and translate it later.
Do it your way.
Don’t swing Rory’s swing, or Bubba’s, or, for heaven’s sake, Jim Furyk’s. Listen to Bagger.
Swing your Authentic Swing.
[One final note: I’ll be doing a free “ask me anything” session as a bonus for everyone who buys the special First Look Access bundle of The Authentic Swing within this next week. A form will appear upon check-out, so you can submit any comment, complaint, or question. Shawn and I will select a few and put together an hour-long audio piece with my responses and send it to you by e-mail as soon as we get it done.]