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Jordan Spieth Change or be Changed

Normally I like to safety valve my blogs by stacking facts behind opinion, but in this case, I don’t need to. At the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, Jordan Spieth attributed his recent but short-lived good play down to his short game and putting; his words, not mine.

Sorry, my nagging conscience has won over my laziness:

182nd Strokes gained off the tee.

Driving accuracy 193rd.

Greens in regulation 180th thus far in 2019.

Not great reading is it? Even if you capitulated a little and said that whilst he was winning major championships, his long game was just marginally good enough to do so, his stats during that period don’t resemble the numerical carnage they do now.

Is it likely that his mindset has suddenly changed?

This is tantamount to suggest he’s suddenly started to read yardage books backwards. No of course his mindset hasn’t changed.

He’s still got a great caddy and the warm ruts of his memory still pulse from the level of golf he’s played in the past (Spieth was a junior golf phenom even before Cameron Mccormick became his teacher).

There seems to be no warning signs that his personal life outside the ropes is anything other than it used to be. So, Spieth appears to be doing EVERYTHING he was doing when he was winning.

And that my friends, is the problem.

Before I talk about his problem. Here’s mine:

It grates me, damn well grieves me, when I hear teachers and amateurs alike talk about grip changes and swing changes like they are messing with the space time continuum.

Yes, if you change a person’s grip, of course you have to change their release pattern.

Yes, if you change someone’s posture, guess what, you have to change their plane.

Yes, if you change someone’s clubface positioning, you have to change their path.

For the love of Pete, every new action in golf requires a corresponding and learned reaction.

So, change is only difficult in golf when you only deal causation and not deal with its relatable effect.

Ok, now that’s off my chest, back to Spieth.

Hogan changed his swing; won before and after the event. O’Meara changed his swing; won before and after the event. Strange changed his swing; won before and after the event. Faldo change his swing (the year after he won the Order of Merit no less); won before and after the event. And lastly, Tiger Woods………no more to say, mic drop.

I believe that Jordan Spieth is done with the swing that has got him thus far.

I watched him practice at the Travelers Championship where he missed the cut. It was like he was shooting a gun with three barrels, never knowing which one the ball would exit from. I mentioned on air while guesting for SkySportsGolf, that most professionals are good enough to factor in unwanted curve (path is easily to feel than face) but if the starting line is skewered, it represents a significant problem.

Most swing changes, the successful ones, afford the user and the teacher the ability to revisit a blueprint when things start to wane. Like food, all swings have a shelf life between instruction stops, but this isn’t the case with Spieth, because much time has now alarmingly passed. If his previous swing was creamy milk, it has now clearly soured.

When a motion and dominant pattern in the golf swing fights the way the club wants to be swung; because we have to remember the club is after all the conduit between brain, body and ball; we need to look at that motion and ask why?

The Teacher

In my experience, the only thing worse than a player looking for trouble in his/her game when there is none, is a teacher or coach who capitulates his common sense to appease the client/player.

We clearly saw this with Sean Foley and Tiger Woods in 2010. Scornfully regrettable; just ask Tiger.

Cameron Mccormick must now come up with a different plan other than forcing Jordans swing, like a manacle, to hit certain but unauthentic numbers on the Trackman.

Instead, take a leaf out of the players who have made fundamentally good swing changes. It’s not a scary thing to do when you know what you’re doing.

There’s plenty of fight in Jordan; I love him to bits, he’s a great guy but there’s also plenty of fight in his golf swing now. It’s time his physiology started speaking to the golf club. Lack of clarity for PGA / European Tour players first eats away at you physically and secondly strips you of your identity as a world class player. The physical always precedes the mental.

Technique in golf is a wonderful servant, but a lousy master.

Jordan Spieth is clearly consumed by a technique which he’ll squarely have to face up to, and his teacher, in order to move on.

My Best,

Nick

nick@2020golf.com

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