Meet Matthew Wolff: You've never seen a move like this before
Matthew Wolff (OSU Athletics/Twitter photo)
Through 36 holes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, there’s a Cowboy on top of the leaderboard. That's Rickie Fowler. It's arguably the Cowboy in a tie for 45th place, however, who has drawn more attention. Current Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff
has drawn hundreds of fans to the ropes at TPC Scottsdale. Some may never have seen a swing like his in professional golf.
Wolff debuted with a 67 then followed it with 70 to easily make the cut. Friday’s round was just a little more colorful, with an eagle at the par-5 third, four birdies, three bogeys and a double. On Saturday, a slow back nine resulted in a 1-over 72.
Perhaps most importantly, Wolff has parred the par-3 16th, the hole with a stadium built around it, each of the past three days.
There are a lot of things to take away from the first half of Wolff’s PGA Tour debut. One of them is the speed with which up-and-coming talent is settling in under the microscope that the Tour can bring.
But arguably, the thing dominating the conversation around Wolff is his unorthodox swing. Wolff was the guy who made Oklahoma State’s title-clinching putt last spring at the NCAA Championship. He also went undefeated in three fall stroke-play starts, something that’s never been done before by an Oklahoma State player. Needless to say, college and amateur golf fans are familiar with the move.
Now the rest of the world is, too. Wolff’s stats so far are just as notable.
The man responsible for helping fine-tune Wolff's uniquely powerful swing is George Gankas, a Southern California-based teacher who is also on Wolff's bag this week. Perhaps Gankas himself said it best in terms of his star student.
“There’s still a lot that we don’t know about Matt," he told GolfChannel.com.
Wolff isn't the only exceptionally powerful -- and tremendously successful -- student in Gankas' stable. Here's betting you've heard about a few of his other students: Braden Thornberry, the newly professional Ole Miss standout (and former national champion); top-ranked junior golfer Akshay Bhatia and Bobby Holden, the Division III national champion. According to an article on Golf.com, Gankas has 20 players in his stable of collegians and mini-tour warriors swinging it 130 mph or above.
There are plenty of storylines at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, as usual, but our attention is firmly held by Wolff.