Saturday, August 15, 2009

Helping Adam Scott

It's been announced that Adam Scott is leaving Butch Harmon after a poor showing at the PGA and really struggling for about the past 2 years with his game. So hopefully in this post I can help Adam figure out what his issues are and my solutions to those issues.

First, let's take a look at the stats. When you think of Adam Scott, you usually think of somebody who doesn't have the game with the flatstick to reach Major Championship winner. So here's a look at his putting stats:

Putts/GIR rnk: 182nd
Sand Save %: 127nd
Putts/Round: 186th
Scrambling: 177th

Putting from Inside 5': 194th
Putting from 3-5': 194th
Putting from 5-10': 198th
Putting from - 10-15': 192nd
Putting from - 15-20'" 152nd
Putting from - 20-25': 129th
Putting from - > 25': 172nd
Putting from 5-15': 198th
Putting from 15-25': 169th

Obviously, putting is an issue. But I'm sure he left Harmon because he wasn't happy with his swing. So let's see his 'ballstriking' stats:

Driving Distance: 39th
Driving Accuracy: 172nd
Total Driving: 122nd
GIR: 158th
Proximity to the Cup: 132nd

So, Scott is indeed struggling with his ballstriking. He still hits it a long ways, but his accuracy is poor. And given his poor GIR and Proximity to the Cup Rankings, I get the feeling that not only is Scott missing fairways, but he's missing by quite a bit and cannot get shots to the green much less very close to the cup on a consistent basis.

I'm not the biggest Butch Harmon fan, but I think his method has some merits and can work great for certain golfers. But it's apparent that Scott has some reason for dumping Butch. Furthermore, if his ballstriking is bad, then it makes it more difficult for him to start making putts. As Mark Sweeney from AimPoint Golf states, there are literally impossible putts to make on Tour and the big key is to avoid those putts with your ballstriking.

Even still, it's pretty apparent that his putting is not good regardless of how well he's striking the ball.

While I think it's important to get an idea of what Scott's thoughts are on his game and why it has gone south, I think he needs to be willing to change some of his concepts about the swing and his short game and could really use somebody besides a 'name' teacher.

Make no mistake about it, the PGA Tour is very dependent on ballstriking skill. These guys don't shoot 82-79, even in a major championship, just because their putting is poor. Their ballstriking is almost always off, if not way off, when they are shooting scores like this.

My guess is that he'll probably go to somebody like Sean Foley, who seems to be the flavor of the year on Tour. Foley has worked with guys like Jason Gore and Sean O'Hair and incorporates some Stack and Tilt components to his teaching. I'm not going to knock that even though I'm not the biggest fan of the S&T, because it has worked for O'Hair. Gore really didn't need swing changes to strike the ball better because he's a phenomenal ballstriker to begin with. And for the most part, it really hasn't changed his standing on the Tour because he doesn't have the putting or the short game to be a top tier player.

I would avoid Hank Haney at all costs. Has he really made Tiger a better player? I don't think so. And I certainly believe that Tiger is a LESSER ballstriker since going to Haney. As I pointed out in my statistical analysis of Tiger, he's essentially become a 'bomb-n-gouge' player over the years, but he hasn't been effective as a bomber and has had to make up for that by becoming an incredible gouger ( The difference between Tiger and Scott is that Tiger was a pretty good putter before he changed his swing and got more into bomb-n-gouging. He just went from being a 'pretty good' putter to arguably the best on Tour. Scott on the other hand has seen putting be his achilles heel, so if he were to be more of a bomber, I don't think he has the skill to be a good 'gouger' at this moment.

Here's some people I would suggest for Adam to go see:

David Orr

Positives: Strong putting instructional skill. Works with current tour players and has improved their putting (i.e. Charlie Wi). Knows a variety of swings, including the S& he can make small changes to the swing instead of overhauling it and can also incorporate some S&T components if necessary. Expert knowledge of AimPoint technology, TGM, S&T and MORAD.

Brian Manzella

Positives: Very strong knowledge of the swing. Specializes in customizing swing patterns and getting players to swing like they used to when they were playing well. Helps part-time with David Toms' swing. Expert at operating and teaching with Trackman. Has fantastic facilities to work out of.

Lynn Blake

Positives: Strong knowledge of the golf swing and short game. Knows the 'tour secrets' of putting. Has a strong Tour clientele consisting of Brian Gay and Jay Williamson among others. Turned around Gay's ballstriking ability.

Mark Blackburn

POSITIVES: Strong knowledge of the golf swing and has taugh two of the better ballstrikers on Tour in Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum. Like to make slight adjustments instead of major overhauls, so learning curve will be shorter. Has had to make slight adjustments to Weekley's and Slocum's swings, so he has experience in working with Tour players in this area before.

Geoff Mangum

POSITIVES: Probably has the most amount of knowledge of putting than any person on earth. Likes to customize putting process instead of using one 'way.' Has strong clientele of Tour players and top teachers.



VJ said...

Cool Blog entry Richie, I always like what you have to say about the golf swing and the game in general. I agree with you, Scott will probably go to a big name that hangs out on the range at TOUR events, selling their method. I have wondered since I started playing this silly and difficult game if TOUR players and "big name instructors" surf the internet to see what's going on in internet land. One question, and I'm not setting you up or anything like that, but what do you think needs to be done with Scotts swing? I dig his pivot, is it a sequence issue? plane issue?

Rich H. said...

Last I saw, and I only looked at it briefly, he was WAYYYY laid off. Being across the line can work in golf and has for years, although it tends to get the golfer under plane. Being laid off is a problem and usually golfers who are laid off, even Tour pros usually see it becoming a big problem. Some guys like Ian Poulter can postpone the problems for a long time, but most cannot.

Anonymous said...

It's possible much, if not all, of his trouble is between his ears. I would also hook him up with Pia Nilsson and Lyn Marriott, of "Vision 54". They helped Annika Sorenstam tremendously.