Carl Pettersson doesn't look like today's golfer. He's got a paunch, made famous by his decision to take it off and then add it back on.
He's got a broomstick putter, not the belly kind, but the really long one that goes up to his sternum. And he wears these big wrap-around shades that are bordering on the type that you see a lot at retirement homes.
He also has a homemade golf swing. He never took a lesson growing up and although he's had a couple of teachers along the way, he prefers to do things on his own.
In short, he looks more like the guy in your Saturday morning Nassau than someone who should be leading the PGA Championship.
One thing is certain, however, Pettersson is uber-talented on the course. He has a win and two runner-up finishes so far this season and the 19th-best scoring average on the PGA Tour.
This was the guy, remember, who shot 60 at St. George's G&CC in Toronto a couple of years back en route to winning the RBC Canadian Open.
The other part about Carl Pettersson – the best part, I'd say -- is that he's extremely likable. He jokes, he laughs, he pokes fun at himself.
When asked yesterday if he'd adjust to a normal length putter if the governing bodies banned the long models, he replied honestly: “Well I'd have to. I've got a high school diploma. What else am I going to do?”
Pettersson famously told reporters after his 60 that the day before he'd had seven beers while watching the cut line on a computer to see if he was even going to play the weekend at St. George's.
A few years ago, after losing weight in an effort to play better golf went wrong, he put the pounds back on. How did he do that?
“Well, you drink, you know, ten beers and tub of ice cream before you go to bed,” he said. “That puts it on quickly.”
There's also this matter of his citizenship. He was born in Sweden, moved to the U.S. when he was 14 and just became an American last year. So when it comes to the Ryder Cup, he can't play for the Yanks because he wasn't born in the U.S of A. And he's not a member of the European Tour so his points don't count on their system. He has represented Sweden in the World Cup, however.
Right now, he's happy to play for the PGA title. Pettersson doesn't have a very strong record in majors; just two top-10s in 23 starts.
“Every major the golf courses are set up very difficult, so I think if you don't come in with you're a game, it's very difficult to score,” he theorized. “You have to be on the whole week because of the setup of the golf courses, and I guess I haven't done that enough.”
But this time, he's got a good start at it. And despite all the things that say Carl Pettersson won't win, don't be surprised if come Sunday, the guy with the paunch removes his sunglasses to lift up the Wannamaker Trophy.