David Leadbetter - October 19, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamOctober 19, 2012, 11:48 am

When asked about what his teaching methodology is, Leadbetter said that he does not necessarily have a standard method when it comes to teaching. Communication is incredibly important when you are teaching and every student receives information in different ways. You do not want to change a player’s style. Instead, you want to add a new technique to their style which will then make them better players.

Athleticism has become such a big part of success in the game of golf and you can look all the way back to Nick Faldo as he was one of the first big name players to adopt the modern methods of staying in shape. Suzann Pettersen, another one of his students, is arguably the most athletic player on the entire LPGA Tour. As the game of golf becomes more global and players travel all over the world, it is so important to be physically fit if you are going to be able to compete at the highest level and endure the travel.

The best players in golf all have a high sense of self-confidence in common and you have to have that confidence if you are going to be successful. It is not arrogance but instead a sense of confidence that you are not only capable of being successful on the golf course, but that you will be successful.

Michelle Wie has been a bit of a mystery over the last couple of years. She seems to just now be coming to terms with the fact that she has graduated from college and is now playing golf as a professional full-time. Whether it is related to her swing or to her confidence, Michelle has not played well over the last year and a half. Any future success that she will have in her career depends on  her ability to believe in her herself and her desire to succeed at the highest levels of the game of golf.

Ty Tryon is a great example of a young prodigy who turned pro too early. Tryon was an unbelievably talented player who accomplished a great deal at a young age but he needed life experience and a support system around him at that age. Everyone in professional golf goes through growing pains and when you are a teenager, you cannot go through such changes without a strong support system and he may not have had the support that he needed at that stage in his life.

The advent of video as a teaching tool for pros and amateurs in the game of golf has helped every player and every level. Video has not only helped players by showing them what their swing really looks like, it has also helped teachers because video provides them a powerful method of illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of someone’s swing.

When he worked with Nick Faldo, Leadbetter said that Faldo’s confidence level grew a great deal when he was able to change his swing and become a better player. Once Faldo believed that he could control his swing and control the flight of the golf ball under any circumstances, he had the confidence that he needed to go from a good player to literally the best player in the world. Faldo enjoyed having Leadbetter around and Leadbetter would give Faldo little tips to help his game on a day-to-day or week-to-week level in the way that Butch Harmon helps Phil Mickelson with his game.

Years ago, most players – even the best in the world – did not employ coaches in part because there was not a lot of money in professional golf and the professionals could not afford to have a coach and certainly could not afford to have a team of people. When you would see a player with a coach decades ago, it was an unusual sight. As times have changed and there is more money in the game of golf, it has now become unusual when a professional golfer does not have a coach.

Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.