Little went right for Scott in 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
WHO ROSE AND WHO PLUMMETED IN 2009?
This week, Golfweek.com will be looking at the players who made significant moves during the past year in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Adam Scott: Little went right
Ranking/movement: 193 (-169)
Why the fall? Cite any number of theories – and they run the gamut, from his off-course romances with Kate Hudson and Ana Ivanovic to his separation from swing coach Butch Harmon and yips in the putting stroke. But the young Aussie may just be the latest example of a great talent who hits a rough patch and doesn’t know why.
It has been suggested that because his skills and talent are so natural and pure that golf always has come easy to Scott and he never has had to search “in the dirt” for answers, as have so many of his colleagues. For his part, Scott dismisses such speculation and suggests the problem is the opposite – that perhaps he is working so hard on things that he’s putting incredible pressure on himself.
As his PGA Tour season spiraled aimlessly out of control – after finishing T-2 at the Sony, he missed the cut in 10 of 17 tournaments – Scott concluded that his posture was at the root of his troubles and that he got into bad swing habits that produced horrible results. His driving was atrocious (he ranked 148th) and so were other phases of the game (162nd in greens in regulation, 177th in putting). But his Dec. 6 triumph at the Australian Open gives him an early lift for ’10.
Scott says: “I’ve got to get back to basics, and for me, that’s fairly easy. I have a fairly straightforward golf swing when I swing the club well. I’ve just got to get myself in position to do that.”
– Jim McCabe
Dicky Pride: Tough recovery
Ranking/movement: 753 (-478)
Why the fall? Driving, injury, swing confusion and more. Pride, 40, was injured last off season, with casts on his left arm (elbow tendinitis) and left foot (plantar fasciitis). He couldn’t work out and got out of shape. “I don’t know how much muscle I lost, but I gained a lot of fat,” he said. “My wife’s still a great cook.”
Then Pride experienced swing problems. The stats confirm as much: He ranked no better than 151st in greens in regulation, putting average, scoring and total driving. He says he lost 10 yards off the tee when he “didn’t have a yard to lose.” In an effort to get better, he got confused in making swing changes and getting too mechanical.
He said the game got too complicated for him, that he got away from the big picture. “Instead of making a golf swing, I was probably playing quarter positions,” he said. “I was making the simple complicated, and that’s not a way to play under pressure.”
Late in the year, he shifted to working on simplifying the swing and focusing on ball flight. “I’ve got a lot more clarity in my head,” he said. Pride tied for fourth at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, but that was his only finish better than 59th in 10 starts on the PGA Tour as a past champion and eight on the Nationwide Tour. He didn’t make a cut on the Nationwide after making 11 cuts in 13 starts on that circuit in 2008.
Pride says: “The biggest thing is, I drove the ball poorly all year and that affected other things. I allowed it to infect other parts of my game. . . . But I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year.”
– Jeff Rude