He has not only seen the game's greatest wedge players but helped them to become so and legendary Titleist wedge designer Bob Vokey says West Australian Brett Rumford is among the best he has ever seen.
In Australia as a keynote speaker and presenter at the PGA of Australia's Golf Expo at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, Vokey spoke with some 200 PGA Professionals about his vast experience in the game dating back some 50 years.
Inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame two years ago and as spritely in his 80th year as he was when he started out, Vokey included Rumford when asked to name the five greatest wedge players he had worked with throughout his distinguished career.
Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, all giants of the game of golf and alongside Rumford the most exquisite proponents of wedge play that Vokey has witnessed.
Still on the comeback trail from wrist surgery, Rumford is one of 10 Australians playing in the Porsche European Open in Germany this week where he can put his short-game wizardry to the test at the Green Eagle Golf Course.
"There have been a lot of good ones – and there are a lot of good ones coming through – but me being a bit older I would say Seve, Lee Trevino, Tiger in the year 2000 was as good as anybody at that particular time, Phil was right in there too and I'm going to say ‘Rummy’,” Vokey said when asked for his personal top five.
"I'll put Brett Rumford with anybody. He's there, and I'm not saying that just because I'm here [in Australia].
"He's the only player who I have a picture of in my office.”
A six-time winner on the European Tour, Rumford has long been admired for his short game and Vokey explained that it is his ability to picture what the club is doing at impact that places him among the very best with the scoring clubs.
"He knows the bottom. He can find the bottom of that wedge," Vokey told PGA Media.
"He can visualise what the bottom of that club's going to do. Where it's going to enter the sand or the turf and where it’s going to exit.
"That's an art only achieved by the best wedge players in the world.
"Seve had that, Trevino had that, they knew where it was going to come in and where it was going to exit.
"That's what sets him apart, and he knows how to use each wedge in each particular situation.
"The other thing that sets him apart? Confidence. He's fearless. 'Give me that shot, I can hit that shot.'
"And ‘Rummy’ doesn't just put a sack of balls down and hit one particular shot. He'll play shots all around the green, and he doesn't just practise for 10-15 minutes, he works hard at it.”
The Scandinavian Invitation a fortnight ago is the only European Tour event where Rumford has made the cut since his comeback from injury in May and is making his debut at the Green Eagle Golf Course in Hamburg.
The 42-year-old’s best finish at the European Open came in 2005 when it was domiciled at The K Club in Ireland where he was tied for 19th.
Rumford will be the first of the Aussies to tee off at 4.10pm AEST on Thursday afternoon with Min Woo Lee and Harrison Endycott to follow shortly thereafter, Endycott making just his second start in Europe having played in this event 12 months ago where he missed the cut.
Other Aussies in the field this week are Lucas Herbert, Adam Bland, Dimi Papadatos, Scott Hend, Sam Brazel, Deyen Lawson and Jake McLeod while Kiwis Ryan Fox and Michael Campbell will also tee it up.
Ben Eccles and Josh Geary will be the two Australasian representatives on the Challenge Tour this week as they contest the 13th staging of the Open de Bretagne in France.
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