Na Takes Lead Despite Full-Swing Yips

Na Takes Lead Despite Full-Swing Yips

There is no more fickle, finicky course on the PGA Tour than TPC Sawgrass. The winner of the Players Championship one year is just as likely to miss the cut the next. The tournament favors long hitters except when it favors short ones. It makes no sense. It is impervious to predictions.

So it’s fitting that the leader of the 39th Players is Kevin Na, who shot a bogey-free 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Matt Kuchar (69) and a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler (66) on a Saturday that went from breezy to benign.

The leader of one of the most important tournaments on one of the nastiest courses has the full-swing yips, and Na was such a pileup of false casts and waggles that he was hard to watch Saturday. He yelled at himself upon suffering his worst fit of false starts on the 14th tee, but he managed to hit the fairway. It happened again on 18; he hit the green.

“I changed my setup starting at the Masters last year,” Na said after the round, when he answered every question from the media and laughed at himself. “I was trying to get more forward, trying to get the backswing more up. And because my balance at the setup is totally different, I don't feel comfortable. I'm trying to get comfortable with my waggles. It's usually a little waggle, half-waggle, little waggle, half-waggle, and boom, supposed to pull the trigger. But if it doesn't work, I've got to go in pairs. So it'll go four; and if it doesn't work, it'll go six; and after that—there's a lot going on in my head.”

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