The day Britain's Tony Jacklin won the 1970 US Open, one of his friends, Tom Weiskopf I think it was, stuck a notice on his locker before he changed to tee off: ''Tempo.''
In the previous year Jacklin had won the British Open. Interestingly enough, on that occasion he had used the word himself. ''On that last tee I thought only 'tempo!' '' he told the press later.
I looked up ''tempo'' in the dictionary. One definition is rhythm. Stuart Murray of Natick, Mass., often used a metronome to school his golf pupils in rhythm. And yet, it has always seemed to me, even the word ''rhythm'' is not quite enough.
I looked up ''rhythm'' in my dictionary. I came up with this definition: ''A flow of movement.''
This defines and explains both tempo and rhythm. . . . A flow of movement. . . . That's it.
One must make the golf swing flow.
Having my Webster's handy by now, I looked up ''flow,'' too.
As a verb it means: ''To manifest smoothness, continuity and ease.''
So now we have it. Tempo is fine, but not of itself enough. Rhythm is excellent, but not of itself enough. Smoothness is vital, but alone it's not enough.
What a golf swing needs is exactly this: Smoothness, continuity, and ease.
Try a practice session thinking only of this phrase. Forget your shoulder turn and your errant right elbow. Just make each swing flow. Think: ''Smoothness , continuity, and ease.''
Then when you next play, pack this thought in your bag and take it with you on the golf course. Use it particularly if the going gets tough.
You'll be a different player. And one you will like very much.