Furyk, McDowell US Open Challenges Addressed In Instruction Series

Golf book

Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell are two of the straightest drivers of the golf ball in the world. Yet during the final round of the recently concluded U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, the two previous U.S. Open champions (Furyk in 2003, McDowell in 2010) fell into the same driving traps that ensnare the average golfer.

Those faults and traps are addressed by some of the most knowledgeable teachers in the game in “The Best Driving Instruction Book Ever!,” GOLF Magazine’s recently released addition to its popular and practical instruction series.

Two of the author/instructors featured in the book (Jon Tattersall of Atlanta and T.J. Tomasi of Port St. Lucie, Fla.) are GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Teachers.

Both Tomasi and Tattersall took note of the off-the-tee struggles Furyk and McDowell had coming down the stretch at Olympic and put their years of expertise working with professionals and amateurs alike to diagnose what technical issues befell the two players.

"Neuroscientists say that even the most observant brain will not pick up subtle clues if that brain is overwhelmed with stress chemicals. One such lapse cost Jim Furyk a U.S. Open when the USGA threw the field a curve ball by moving the tee up to make the unreachable 16th reachable," Tomasi said. "Unprepared for just such a moment, and with his focus frayed, Furyk tried to hit his tee shot too hard and so changed the sequence of his swing, causing a shut face and a snap hook into the bushes."

Tomasi said golfers can get a good grasp on the transfer of power in Chapter 7: "Biomechanics For A Better Driver Sequence," which shows how to develop proper motion from the start of your swing to the finish.

Tattersall said the demands of The Olympic Club - where players were required to work the ball in both directions on demand to handle the numerous doglegs -- affected straight-hitting players like Furyk and McDowell.

"Both Graeme and Jim are pretty neutral-flight guys and I think the constant pressure of trying to draw and fade together with the pressure of the final round got to them," Tattersall said. "Jim, specifically, has the most neutral face on tour. The only thing he could have done better was to play to his strengths and not try to draw and fade so much.

"Graeme hits up with a shut face held off, so curving the ball left with absolute trust using a driver is tough. It's great for fading, however. Hitting a three-wood allows him that downward hit, which with the additional loft, makes a draw/hook pattern easier."

When it comes to this month's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Tomasi points out in Chapter 2 that players need two different swings: one for their driver and one for their irons. He maintains golfers need two distinct and functional swings to master the Open layouts.

"With high winds the norm and quirky bounces hiding everywhere, the Open rarely falls to a one-trick pony," Tomasi said. "Luke Donald is a good example of a fine iron player who is suspect with the driver. Tiger Woods is the same. Players like Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell are good drivers of the ball but not as good with the irons. As great as these players are, they must recognize that you need two very different golf swings: one when the ball is on the ground and the other for a teed-driver."

Tattersall, who was born 50 miles from the seaside resort town of Blackpool, where Royal Lytham is set, said players will have to manage trajectory off the tee more than any other variable - more so than shot shape. Tattersall maintains that the wind will put a premium on posture and range-of-motion, which he covers in Chapter 8.

"Curving will only be important on the cross-wind holes where the players are holding the ball into the wind," Tattersall said. "Lytham also makes the players hit from the same place on many holes because of fairways narrowing or strategic bunkers. Club selection is as important off the tee as accuracy."

Lessons include finding your unique driver swing, how to find your best setup and swing, how to control your clubface and find your driver swing code, how to find and maximize power, how to find your optimal range of motion, how to practice driving, how to find the perfect driver, and how to fix the most common driving faults.

Both “The Best Driving Instruction Book Ever!,” and “The Best Instruction Book Ever!,” Expanded Edition follow in the footsteps of GOLF Magazine's best-selling series of lesson manuals.

By GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Teachers
Edited and Introduction by David DeNunzio, Instruction Editor, GOLF Magazine
Time Home Entertainment Inc.Publication date: April 24, 2012
$29.95 hardcover

By GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Teachers
Edited and Introduction by David DeNunzio, Instruction Editor, GOLF Magazine
Time Home Entertainment Inc.
Publication date (reprint): May 22, 2012
$32.95 hardcover


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