Like many of the golf viewing public, I sat watching the final holes of the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship in awe of Rickie Fowler. Not necessarily in awe of his play, or even his Sunday-orange outfit, but rather his victory moustache.
It appears that many golfers are finding that growing a lip-sweater could be the key to breaking out of a slump. Don't believe me? Allow me to point out the correlation between the tash and the cash.
Exhibit A: Geoff Ogilvy
During his 2011 season, Ogilvy limped his way to four top-10s in 21 events, no wins and his lowest year-end money total in eight years. When November rolled around the former US Open Champion grew a rather dashing moustache to support Movember (a moustache-growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer). It came just in time.
Later in November the President's Cup took place in Australia and Ogilvy was on hometurf playing four events to end his season. Throughout the month, Geoff continued growing, grooming and defending a rather fetching 3 Musketeers-style moustache.
Despite some curious looks from the local fans, Ogilvy put his 2011 season behind him and used the new tash to full effect. He finished 4th at the Emirates Australian Open and then went on to lead the International team at the President's Cup with a team-best 3.5 points from 5, including a final hole singles win over the in-form, Tour Championship and Fedex Cup winner, Bill Haas.
Ogilvy on his moustache: "I think it’s cool to have a little bit of fun. I’m not the one who has to look at it, either, so it’s not like it would ever bother me.
Not convinced yet? ok, let's move on.
Exhibit B: Johnson Wagner
Since turning pro in 2002, Johnson Wagner has sailed under the wind, recording only one PGA Tour victory in his first 8 years as a pro.
After missing out on a trip to the 2011 Tour Championship, Wagner's game needed some motivating heading into the 2012 season. Following Ogilvy's lead, he grew and donned an under-nose rug and headed into 2012. Johnson: "Oh, is it a November mustache? Well, it’s December, time to shave it.’ I said, Look, this is not a one-month mustache. This is potentially a 10-year mustache.’
Good thing he did kept it too. Johnson played three events in January, finishing in the top-10 in all three, picking up a win at the Sony Open and a runner-up finish at the Humana Challenge a week later. Since then, he has registered 3 more top-25 finishes and currently sits 6th in the Fedex Cup standings.
Are you buying the tash-to-cash formula now? No? Next, I call to the stand, Rickie Fowler.
Exhibit C: Rickie Fowler
The 23-year old Fowler has turned heads since making his debut on Tour in 2009. His skateboarding looks and bright dress sense have brought him a cult following across the globe, but success on the course perhaps didn't follow as expected. Until the moustache.
Rickie had played 60 events on Tour and whilst registering 13 top-10s, he had never broke into the winner's circle and lived up to his bright-orange hype. So the 2012 season rolls in and Rickie upgrades his looks and adds a sharp-looking flavour-savour.
The result? 10 of 12 cuts and his first PGA Tour win in a playoff against fellow young gun, Rory McIlroy. Rickie said of his tash and his new brotherhood with Wagner and Ogilvy "as far as looks go, mine is not as healthy as Ogilvy's or Wagner's. I'm not saying any of them look good or bad. It's just fun. It just kind of shows you some of our personalities. We enjoy it. We've got our own little brotherhood going, I guess, Mo-Bros.
So there you have it. Three professionals, 3 splendid soup strainers, 3 careers turned around. Case closed. And I didn't even have to call Hunter "2 week stuble" Mahan, Miguel Angel "There's red wine in my tash" Jimenez or Craig "The Walrus" Stadler to the stand.
So whilst we all like to work on our swing or blame our equipment, perhaps the key to success in 2012 lies between your nose and your top lip.