If you are a golf fan, you probably can't wait for this week's Ryder Cup. There are three reasons the U.S. team will prevail:
(1) The Americans are familiar with the U.S. golf courses and the style of play necessary to win.
(2) Medinah is a long golf course and the roughs will be short.
(3) The greens are very traditional and very, very fast.
Davis Love III, the U.S. captain, said he made his four captains' picks based on putting skill and not long driving. I would beg to differ here. His captains' picks were: Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, and Jim Furyk. All these guys are great putters. That being said, I really think the American team will be putting their power on display at Medinah. The U.S. team will be playing aggressively, and not holding back in any way.
Golf fans want to see these great players hit it a LONG WAY. I suppose putting is what wins, but it is the driving that creates the excitement.
Power is generated in different ways. Let's take some of the U.S. players as examples. Bubba Watson, the Masters champion, leads the list. Bubba gets his power from his very wide and high swing arc. You probably will never see Bubba hit a straight shot. He is always trying to work the ball one way or another.
Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Johnson, Snedeker and Jim Furyk get their power in a similar way. Their high swing arcs, even though it is not considered the Modern Swing, is a very efficient way to hit the long ball. Notice that all of these high swingers have great tempo in their swings. On the other hand, the Europeans have much lower swings.
The other U.S. players, which include Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, and Tiger Woods, activate their power through body coil and leverage. By coiling their body on their backswing, they produce a great amount of potential energy. This is enhanced by keeping their wrists cocked long into their downswing while transferring their weight to their front leg.
Great impact is a result of proper sequential motion on the downswing. Although all swings look different, they all have the same sequencing.
As you watch the Ryder Cup this weekend, watch how the players sequence the movement of their downswings. The feet, knees and hips will be the leaders in the downswing. The shoulders, arms, torso, wrists and clubhead will be the last things to get to the ball. Good impact will be the result of efficient movement.
Although the U.S. team will probably win with its superior putting talent, I wouldn't dismiss the great ability to hit it long and straight. Medinah Country Club will demand this quality.
Best of luck to the Americans.
Dr. Jim Suttie, 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year, is available for lessons at Suttie Golf at the Club at Twin Eagles in North Naples and Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. For lessons and program information call 800-765-3838 or Jmsuttie@aol.com.