- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Olympian Shane Hamman
Shane Hamman can hit the ball a ton, which isn't surprising considering that he can lift half a ton. What is surprising is how Hamman, a 28-year-old Olympic weightlifter who set the world record in the superheavyweight division for the squat (1,008 pounds), is able to swing a golf club around a body that's as wide as a phone booth. "I'm really flexible," says Hamman, whose tale of the tape reads as follows: height, 5'9"; weight, 360 pounds; chest, 62"; biceps, 22"; thighs, 35". "As part of my training I stretch so many times a day I never let myself get tight." He is so supple he can do a standing backflip and dunk a volleyball.
On the course Hamman turns fast enough to pound out 350-yard drives but also battles a nasty slice. Thanks to a deft short game, he has whittled his handicap to 14. "A hundred twenty yards and in with my pitching wedge is my money shot," says Hamman, who has played golf for seven years.
After graduating from Mustang (Okla.) High in 1990, Hamman stocked watermelons at his father's produce business for eight years. At about the same time, he tried powerlifting, teaching himself techniques for the squat, bench press and deadlift by reading magazines. "In my first competition, when I was 18,1 broke all the teenage world records," he says. But after watching the 1996 Games on TV, Hamman switched to Olympic-style weightlifting (the snatch and the clean and jerk). "I saw how professional they were," says Hamman, "and how much media there was."
Although no one had ever successfully switched from power-to Olympic lifting, Hamman won die national superheavyweight crown his first time out, in 1997, and has retained his tide every year since. Ranked ninth in the world, Hamman is considered a dark horse for a medal in Sydney. "Weightlifting is my sport," he says, "but golf is my favorite sport."
Despite the dichotomy between golf and weightlfting, Hamman finds similarities between the swing and the snatch: "Lifting the bar from the ground over your head in one move is not about muscling it up. It's all about technique, timing and body position. When you do it right, it feels as if there is no weight on the bar at all, just like when you hit it pure in golf, and it feels as if you didn't even swing."
Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Jesper Parnevik and Jean Van de Velde's loss is the Aug. 24-27 Reno-Tahoe Open's gain. Those four golfers, all members of the 1999 European Ryder Cup team, were supposed to be hobnobbing with the top dogs on those dates at the NEC Invitational—a $5 million World tour event in Akron, created for the most recent Ryder and Presidents Cuppers. Instead, three of the four (Parnevik is nursing a back injury) are scheduled to go slumming with the P.H. Horgans of the PGA Tour in Reno.
Garc�a blames the European tour for making him feel like a first-class citizen in a second-rate event Before the season Euro tour officials changed the eligibility for the NEC, limiting entry to the top 12 on that tour's money list. That effectively eliminated the four Euros, who play in the U.S. more than in Europe. "We deserve to play at the NEC," Garcia says. "I'm not happy about this."
Reno-Tahoe tournament director Jim Kline, though, is "going nuts." Securing commitments from the three headliners was terrific news for an event that has struggled to stay alive since its title sponsor, Greens.com, took a powder last month. "We knew it was a sore subject for them," Kline says. "It's not like you can go up to them and say, 'Hey, too bad about Akron. Now you can come and play our event because we're second-best.' "