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How's Your Swing?: Nicky Wire - Golf Punk, April/May 2004

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ARTICLES:2004



Title: How's Your Swing?: Nicky Wire
Publication: Golf Punk
Date: April/May 2004
Writer: Iestyn George



Golf Punk, April04.jpg



Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers on John Daly's soft hands.

How's my swing? Decrepit. Last time I played I knackered my shoulder and my father had to come up in his car to pick me up. I've dislocated it three times, so I'm not the most robust with a long iron in my hand.

Why golf?
I love absolutely everything about it. It dignifies people; the kind of sport that can make a bad person into a good person. I've been unbelievably lucky to grow up during a time of European dominance of golf, Seve, Langer, Lyle, Faldo, Woosnam, Olazabal and the rest It's one of the most underrated sporting eras in modern history.

Who is your favourite player?
Nick Faldo is in my lop three sporting heroes of all time. Every one of his major victories is burnt indelibly in my memory. People don't remember how dead European golf was until Seve, Langer and Faldo turned up. He was a pioneer of modern golf: the fitness, the psychology, the remodeled swing. He never stops trying to improve. I love the fact that he takes the game so seriously and that he seems to wind everyone up in the process. That's one of the reasons I love Monty as well. They never Told McEnroe to cheer up, did they?

What are your earliest golf memories?
These are all fragmented: tournaments like the Dunlop Masters, David Graham winning the US Open in 1981. Around that time I had a poster on my wall with all the major title holders on it. At the Start of every year, I'd lie on my bedroom floor and try and work out Who the year's winners would be. I remember Brian Barnes beating Nicklaus twice in a day in the Ryder Cup, when we were rubbish. Ken Brown's hickory putter. Peter Oosterhuis, never won a major but was a regular winner in America. It's all coming back to me now...

Jack or Tiger?
Jack for me. I don't think Tiger will be fit for comparison until he beats Jack's 18 major victories, When you think of the competition he had to face week in, week out. Tom Watson eight majors, Gary Player got nine, Arnold Palmer seven, Lee Trevino six. It was a phenomenally competitive era of golf. Apart from Ernie Els and Singh, has any other player won more than one major in Tiger's time?

What are your favourite Ryder Cup moments?
Millions, just millions. The most recent is Phil Price beating Mickelson at The Belfry; the bizarre reaction on his face. Nick Faldo against Curtis Strange in 1995. Strange was up with two to play and Faldo just seemed to grow four feet in Stature. Astonishing. Philip Walton holing the putt at Oak Hill in 1995. Seve and Olazabal dancing on the roof in 1987. You've got to appreciate Tony Jacklin's contribution to all this. He made them dress properly and start playing like a team. Kiawah Island in 1991 was amazing, even though we lost. We were in the recording studio working on Generation Terrorists at the time and when it finished James completely lost his head and smashed the kitchen up. Our producer, Steve Brown, was, like: "It's only golf, lads..."

Which players' strengths would you take to make your ideal golfer?

Tiger's physique, Tom Watson's fluid swing, Faldo's long-iron game, though they don't seem to need that so much now they're so long off the tee; Daly's underrated soft hands around the greens and Olazabal's ability to hole out from 10-18 feet. I'd like Seves fighting spirit and Arnold Palmer's general demeanor. No one has shown the game more respect than him.

What do you think is the best course?
Royal Porthcawl's fantastic links, because it's the only course in Wales that has staged the British Open. Also Tenby, because I love the place and it's so underrated.

Who's your favourite bad boy of golf?
John Daly, no contest I think people forget he's got two majors to his name. Ridiculous hair, ridiculous clothes, ridiculous pisshead, but a very talented man nonetheless.

What's the most frustrating thing about the game?
Not being able to play, I suppose. I don't find golf the least bit frustrating. It's a great way to spend your time even if you're not scoring well. I'm looking forward to retirement; I hope to be fit and well enough to spend a lot of time on the course. It's an ongoing project.

Who should we keep an eye out for...?
There's a great Welsh golfer called Becky Morgan who turned pro not so long ago. She's doing OK, but other than that God only knows, The European tour is full of 50-year-old Scandinavians making a good living and bottling it any time they're within reach of winning a decent tournament. Having said that, as long as somebody from Europe wins a major this year I'll be happy.