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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Most Interesting Debut in Golf

In case you didn't hear, after setting a scoring record for 50-year-olds at the Masters, Miguel Angel Jimenez decided to squeeze in one more tournament before he took some time off for marriage and such. (He really did. He's getting married May 3rd.) He decided to make his debut on the Champions Tour.

I'm afraid most of the other players wish he hadn't. He has a 3-stroke lead after the first round.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Vartan Kupelian posted an interesting article about the Mechanic's first senior moments on the Champions Tour at PGATOUR.com. You can click the link to read it, but I wanted to show you something Miguel said about his game. Kupelian wrote that when Miguel has questions about his swing, he usually looks to his brother Juan. However:
When Jimenez does consult with a swing guru, it’s “never to go into big things."
“I don’t let anyone come into big things,” he said. “Just only the feeling, the contour (shape) of the ball is not working properly, the ball is starting too far right, then what happened? Maybe the ball too far back, maybe too far forward, see the flight of the ball, tell you everything and you have to work with that.”
In other words, it’s about seeing and feeling what he does with the golf swing. It’s not overhauling the engine. It’s about fine-tuning it.
Are we seeing a pattern lately among the players who are starting to assert themselves on Tour? Guys like Miguel and Bubba focus more on feel and "small things" rather than trying to overhaul their swings to get them "just right." Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker have been making progress working with Butch Harmon, but the changes seem to focus on tightening things up a bit rather than doing something new. Even Lee Westwood seems to be returning to his old form now that he's gone back to the basic principles he's played by most of his career.

This is about mindset, folks. This is about sticking with what you know works and keeping it in shape, only "fixing" things when there's really something that needs fixing. Don't keep looking for the next new thing, the next silver bullet, the next hot swing key. Focus on fundamentals. Usually when something goes wrong it's something simple, like alignment or posture or, as Miguel mentions in the quote, ball position. Take a tip from Miguel -- he clearly knows what he's doing.

Oh, and don't worry about his wife-to-be getting angry about some extra golf. It's amazing how those winner's checks can smooth over the little things!

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