Big Play with Jim Suttie

February 21, 2005

WHO: Phil Mickelson

WHAT: 255-yard tee shot with a three-wood

WHERE: Par-4 8th, Pebble Beach

WHEN: Final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

WHY

I'm not surprised that Mickelson scrapped the compact swing he used last year while winning his first major and $5.8 million, because he was never totally comfortable with it. Mickelson is a feel player who craves distance, and his old swing is a long and fluid action with tons of lag to generate enormous power.

JIM'S TIP

Tie on a Towel to Learn to Lag

Lag is the angle created between your left forearm and the shaft. Maintaining or increasing lag during the downswing for as long as possible before releasing the club through impact promotes more clubhead speed and distance. To learn to increase your lag, swing a driver with a bath towel tied around the shaft near the clubhead. The towel's weight and the resistance it creates on the downswing will keep you from uncocking your wrists too soon--a.k.a. casting--while creating extra lag.

Jim Suttie runs Suttie Academy at The Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.

... AND ANOTHER THING

"I don't like Tiger Woods's new swing. His fade grip, laid-off position at the top and hook action are a recipe for inconsistency."

TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

In the long run, is Mickelson making a mistake by abandoning the swing that won him the Masters?

Yes 28%

No 72%

"He hasn't changed the swing or his philosophy. His new ball and driver are longer."

--RICK SMITH, Mickelson's coach

COLOR PHOTOCOURTESY OF CBS (MICKELSON, BIG PLAY) COLOR PHOTOANDREW GOMBERT (2, SUTTIE) COLOR PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONANDREW GOMBERT (2, SUTTIE); JOHN BIEVER COLOR PHOTOJOHN BIEVER

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)