Harry Weetman – the fascination of raw power

Harry Weetman is another forgotten Champion, tragically killed in a car crash in 1972. He was as strong as an ox with huge hands and forearms and crunched the ball as if his life depended on it.

The crowds loved him because of the fascination of such raw power. I have seen him hit the ball 200 yards out of deep rough with a 5 iron – grass flying in all directions.

He leaned into the ball so much that he could never get it very high – he was exactly like Abe Mitchell in that respect.

Harry Weetman crashes a drive at the 1951 Masters (Golf Monthly)

But he could hit a 1-iron almost as far as his driver and this is what demoralised Sam Snead in their classic Ryder Cup singles match at Wentworth in 1953. Sam did not like being out-driven, and if I had known this in 1951 I would have belted my drives harder in my own match with Sam.

In 1953 Harry was four down with six holes to play and still won on the 18th – an incredible performance, like my son-in-law Brian Barnes beating Jack Nicklaus twice in one day at the 1975 match in the US.

On the back nine at Wentworth Harry began to take his 1-iron off the tee for safety and Sam was mortified to find that Harry’s drives were still up with his own.

Harry won the Matchplay twice and played in seven Ryder Cups. I always found him a bit uncomfortable to watch because you never knew when he was going to go badly off his game. He had a wristy backswing and was not that consistent, so tended to be better at match play than stroke play.

While a tough customer on the course, never saying much, he was a kind man off the course and I got on with him very well.

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