Out of the Rough: Let's hear it for the big boys

In the era when most professional golfers travel with a personal trainer and nutritionist, Sunday's win by Carl Pettersson at the RBC Heritage was one for the plump.

Pettersson is listed at 195 pounds in the PGA Tour media guide, and the only way that's true is if he either put one leg on the scale or was weighed on the intensified gravity of Jupiter.

The Swede is about 240 pounds if he's a dime. That's fine. Media guides lie all of the time. Truthfully, Pettersson is one of the larger-waisted players on the PGA Tour.

He's also the most recent winner. Pettersson has five PGA Tour titles and most of them came while exerting some effort to see his feet.

(At this point, it's worth noting that I'm built like Pettersson, so I can speak.)

There was a time, a few offseasons ago, when Pettersson went down the path so many with weight issues went, he shed pounds. The Swede turned U.S. citizen lost 30 pounds, but also lost his golf game in the process.

"It really threw my golf game -- '09, I played terrible, I finished 150- something on the money list, FedExCup list," Pettersson said Sunday after his victory.

Pettersson did what anyone would do, he worked hard to get back into the shape in which he excelled.

"Well, you drink, you know, 10 beers and (a) tub of ice cream before you go to bed. That puts it on quickly," said this professional athlete.

Pettersson isn't the only one. Craig Stadler lost a ton of weight years ago and it ruined his swing. You play the game your whole life with a 42-inch waist, you build a rhythm. It's how you swing.

A significant weight loss can change all of that. The swing is predicated on a takeaway and a follow-through around the waist, or core as it's now trendily called. A massive change in that bump ruins what you've spent a life learning.

This is not to say that being overweight is a good thing. Aside from the massive health concerns, there is a golf concern as well.

A PGA Tour golf course measures about five miles worth of walking. Throw in hills, and that's a lot for overweight man, or woman, to battle while trying to hit perfect golf shots and win.

If you also add the summer heat and humidity, a hefty belly can wear one down, especially on Sunday, when golf tournaments are won.

So, in this era of fitness, how important is it to be a 28-waist with a 3- percent body fat percentage?

By and large, the winners on tour this season resemble athletes more than donut shop regulars. The doughiest victor this season on tour prior to Pettersson was Phil Mickelson. Lefty's certainly no Adonis, but he's not going to fill in as Santa Claus without the aid of a body suit.

Being heavy doesn't guarantee strength. It's more an issue of endurance and the trend toward power bars and protein shakes isn't going anywhere.

Tiger Woods works out sometimes before a round, and most times, after. He's a physical specimen, unlike any seen in golf, and he also happens to be at a minimum, the second-best player ever.

Lee Westwood was pudgy and his game abandoned him. He worked hard and now has to be the strongest player in the game. He's third in the world and has won all over the globe.

But that's not the only way to get into the winner's circle, as Pettersson proved.

"We're not running marathons here, we're just walking 18 holes," Pettersson said. "Maybe some of these guys are overdoing it. It's great to be fit and everything, but I feel like I'm fit enough to get around 18 holes."


Now, go get us those 10 beers and tub of ice cream.


- Louis Oosthuizen lost the Masters in a playoff. It's impossible to realize how crushing it can be to get that close to that title, and come up short. After, he travels 30 hours, through 12 time zones to play in the Malaysian Open. There were long weather delays and Oosthuizen persevered through it all to win. Say nothing of how hard it is to get up for the next event after the Masters heartbreak, to endure all of that, then win is impressive. For someone whose desire has been questioned in the last 10 days, that victory displayed some serious mental toughness.

- I love the world rankings. In a two-year, complex formula, Rory McIlroy is once again No. 1, despite sitting out this week. Luke Donald needed a tie for eighth or better, and didn't come close. No matter how ridiculous it seems for a guy resting on his couch to become first, it's probably accurate.

- Movie moment - Took the week off from film.