If you’re at a Cincinnati-area golf course and see a 6’7”, 335 pound behemoth approach the first tee you should look closely – it might be Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Whitworth, recently ranked 82nd on the Pro Football Focus list of the Top 101 players in the NFL, is one of several avid golfers in the Bengals locker room.
“Oh man., I love the game and play every single day after our workouts,” Andrew told me. “I play about four or five days a week. I’m about a nine handicap I would guess.
“I actually played a little bit in college for about two years and then I stopped until last year. Since January or February of last year, I’ve played a few times a week.”
Whitworth recently joined Hyde Park Country Club but plays a variety of Cincinnati-area courses with his Bengals teammates.
So who are the best golfers on the team?
“I would probably say Zac Robinson…Leon Hall…Kevin Huber,” said Whitworth. “I hear that Terence Newman is good, but I haven’t played with him yet. Oh, Clint Boling – he’s a good one. We have some guys that like to play. We have a group of about four or five of us that play every day.”
On the surface, football and golf would not appear to have much in common, but Whitworth says the challenge of blocking guys like Terrell Suggs and James Harrison is similar to hitting a little white ball.
“The violence and physicality are different, but in some ways, being a left tackle and facing elite pass rushers all comes down to your technique,” said Whitworth. “Offensive linemen have to be able to play with the exact same technique 70 to 80 times in a game. A golf swing is the same – you have to be able to make your body do exactly what you want it to do over and over again.
“For me to be able to kick out of a stance and be in the exact position that I want to be in is the number one key to blocking elite pass rushers. It’s no different than standing on the tee box and trying to hit the most accurate drive that I can when the pressure is on.”
Whitworth estimates that his best drives exceed 310 yards (Bengals.com editor Geoff Hobson says he can attest to it), but the 7th-year pro out of LSU says he does not try to “grip it and rip it.”
“People expect to see me swing violently at a golf ball, but I value learning the proper techniques of the swing,” said Whitworth. “I worked with the pro at Maketewah (Country Club) last Thursday and he laughed and told me it’s the best swing he’s ever seen from a 6-foot-7 guy in his life.”
You can see for yourself at the 1:10 mark of this video
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