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Friday, March 29, 2013

Rory Continues to Have Finger Problems

For those of you who somehow missed it, Rory was asked earlier this week if he'd talked to Tiger about the Big Cat's win at "the Arnie" (at which Rory missed the cut). Rory said -- and I'm quoting from a article:
Texted him said, "Well done." Hadn't spoken to him in a couple weeks. Just congratulated him and stuff as well and he said everything was good there. Told me to get my finger out of my ass and win this week.
Well, apparently Rory didn't listen. He's currently 1-over after one round at the Shell Houston Open, which included a double-bogey on the par-5 8th hole.

Normally I wouldn't consider this a big deal. Everybody goes through slumps now and then, and Rory has demonstrated a habit of it. (Just think about last summer, back before he blew everyone away at the PGA Championship.)

The reason it matters this time is two-fold:
  1. The Redstone GC Tournament Course is always set up to duplicate conditions at Augusta National as closely as possible. Most of the players have said they do a good job of it, so it's good practice under competitive conditions.
  2. This is Rory's last tournament before the Masters.
Clearly this is a problem. Rory doesn't have a lot of time to get his game in shape.

The good news is that he seems to have fixed the technical problems -- translate that as "bad habits" -- his swing had slipped into. But apparently he doesn't feel particularly confident about his game right now, and that's definitely NOT the frame of mind you want when you head to Augusta.

Right now Rory's one over the cut line. He needs a good round today if he wants to get in a couple more competitive rounds before the Masters.

Otherwise, maybe he should invest in some surgical gloves... especially since, after 3 wins in 4 weeks, Tiger probably plans to be more hands-on at Augusta this year.


  1. Hi Mike, I'm a keen reader of your blog and books and appreciate your incisive writing. I wanted to ask you to expand on your comment about Rory's bad habits.

    "The good news is that he seems to have fixed the technical problems -- translate that as "bad habits" -- his swing had slipped into."

    I find learning about mistakes almost as useful as learning about proper form. What exactly were Rory's bad swing habits?

    Thank you for your time,

  2. I haven't personally done a analysis of Rory's problems, Moe. But from what I've heard on GC and read elsewhere, it appears that he started making a big loop on his backswing -- he lifted the club above his intended swing plane on the way back, then dropped it too far below that plane on his way down. It tended to make him push his shots to the right (since he's right-handed) and then he'd have to flip his hands to square up the club face. That flipping caused him to hit big hooks. So sometimes he'd leave the shot right, and other times he'd hook it way left -- the notorious two-way miss pros talk about.

    Most weekend players have the opposite problem -- they start the club back below their intended swing plane, then loop way up over it for the downswing. That's what we call an over-the-top swing.

    I imagine there were some other little things that bothered him (aren't there always?) but as fast as Rory turns his lower body during his downswing, that loop (should we call it an under-the-bottom swing?) made things unpredictable enough to mess him up.