Golf-Trick-shot king Edwards wowing players and fans

Reuters

Sat, 27 Nov 08:56:00 2010

Thirty years ago David Edwards was a down-at-heel club professional struggling to make a putt when he made part-time forays on to the European Tour -- now he is a portly veteran thriving at the art of trick-shot golf.

His biggest worry these days is whether Rory McIlroy is going to take out the teeth of British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen when the pair attempt to replicate one of Edwards's expert routines.

The globetrotting Briton has been wowing the crowds at this week's Dubai World Championship and laughing and joking with the likes of McIlroy, Oosthuizen and Ernie Els.

"In my younger days I had a tour card and I came into the game because I wanted to play," the 55-year-old Edwards told Reuters in an interview on another sun-kissed day in the desert.

"I played in our PGA Championship three times and at the 1981 British Open when American Bill Rogers won. But the biggest problem I had was my putting.

"I would play the tournaments, miss a few putts and a few chips but not be able to work hard on those aspects of the game because I had to fulfil my club duties," said Edwards. "Demands at the club were quite tough but I wasn't good enough to be frank."

Edwards's life changed when he saw American Paul Hahn, one of the first trick-shot artists, and Britain's Noel Hunt doing their routines.

"I started doing different things in golf clinics and I realised I had the hand and eye coordination to perform," he said.

"The repertoire began at maybe four shots but went to six or seven and then suddenly I was in the corporate market, doing charity days and captain's days. I never expected it to go the way it has though.

"I was hitting thousands and thousands of balls and suddenly I started getting more and more enquiries from overseas."

EDWARDS SCISSORHANDS SHOT

Edwards said he finally realised he had made it in the trick-shot world when he was asked to attend the China Open.

"I've travelled to some wonderful places, visited over 30 countries, but when I got to China I had to pinch myself.

"This year has been truly fantastic. I've performed again at the Volvo Open, the British Seniors Open, the Egyptian Open and the Ryder Cup and I just love it."

Edwards particularly enjoys mixing with the world's top players.

"I bring the spectators out to have a go and I also do a few impersonations of the players," he said. "The other day Louis came across and said he wanted to watch me hit a ball from an 18-inch high tee peg.

"I hit a few but he was reluctant to have a crack. Rory came across and I shared some banter with the two of them.

"A lot of people were watching so I got Louis lying on the ground with a normal tee peg in his mouth and Rory had the driver. I said, 'Are you going to hit it?', but he replied, 'No way'.

"He is one of the top players in the world and he wouldn't have been able to do that without taking out Louis's teeth. I then put Rory on the ground and hit the driver and that picture was seen on television and in photographs all around the world."

Edwards has a ponytail hairpiece that he sticks on for his Miguel Angel Jimenez impression and he indulged in some horseplay with Ian Poulter at last month's Ryder Cup.

"Quite a few of the players talk to me now," he added. "Ernie said he would like me to come over to South Africa with the show."

The most eye-catching in the routine is the 'Edwards Scissorhands Shot' where the veteran swishes away with a club in each hand.

"At the Scottish Golf Show in March I set a world record with that one by hitting 312 balls in two minutes 45 seconds," he explained.

"I also use hosepipes, long drivers that are up to seven and a half feet long, I hit balls off my knees, use the backs of clubs and I even do a shot when I sit on the ball."

Edwards certainly has no regrets about giving up his old day job.

"The show is now full time," he said. "What could be better than standing here doing my routines in the sunshine of Dubai?".

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