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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Matt Kuchar's Swing: The Anti-Spieth Approach

Since Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth are the main contenders in today's final round at The Open -- and I looked at Jordan's swing a couple of days back -- I thought it might be fun to take a quick look at Matt's swing. The photo below comes from a Golf Digest sequence of Matt's swing from 2010 (I think) but it's still accurate.

Kuchar's swing at top of backswing

Now THAT is a flat swing plane! The difference between Kuchar and Spieth is even more dramatic when you consider that Matt is 6'4" and Jordan 6'1", a difference of only three inches. I chose this angle because it makes the flatness of Matt's swing very clear. (The photos from his other side look just as flat, but seeing it from his back seems clearer to me.)

As with most swings, there are good and bad points to this type of swing. Here's a short summary.

A swing this flat requires you to drive your legs pretty hard to make sure you get your lead hip out of the way. Otherwise, you'd tend to "get stuck" and push your shots. Your clubface isn't on the target line very long, so it can be a bit tricky to hit the ball on line consistently. And if you miss the fairway, you'll have a much shallower approach into the ball. That could make it harder to get the ball up and out of the rough.

But there are also definite benefits to this swing, which Matt may take advantage of today. If the winds get up as expected, Matt's lower swing plane may help him stay more steady during his swing. His flatter plane will automatically launch the ball on a lower trajectory, which should minimize the wind's effect on his shots. And the lower launch angle should give him more run on the links fairways, which helps offset his need to keep the ball low.

Matt starts the day three shots behind Jordan and, unless they mess up, the rest of the field will have trouble chasing them down. If the wind gets up as expected and Matt can keep his ball in the short grass, he just might grab his first major win today.

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