Michael Breed is the host of The Golf Fix on Golf Channel and is the 2012 PGA of America Teacher of the Year. He has been involved in sports for much of his life and in fact was a competitive squash player as a teenager. When he first got involved in golf, he wanted to play and then he decided to become a teacher. He has had the chance to work at Augusta National among other great clubs and it was Darrell Kestner who gave him his big break. Once he began teaching, he saw the positive impact that he was having on other people and he knew that he had made the right decision to pursue a career as a teaching professional.
The biggest change in instruction over the last 20 years is the technological advancement of video. Not only can a player now view his or her own swing, but he can also work with players exclusively by video. He now has students that he works with who he has never met as they work together exclusively by video.
Working with younger students, he finds that he receives text messages, e-mails, and phone calls from students whenever they have a problem with their swings. Everything in the world around us has become about fulfilling immediate demand and as a result many of his younger students have become conditioned to want immediate solutions whenever they have issues. It did not used to be that way as students would wait until they met in person to work out any issues.
Watching Rory McIlroy, he has not noticed any significant changes in his golf swing over the past year. Rory has his own swing and he has embraced that so he doubts that we will see Rory overhaul his swing multiple times the way that Tiger Woods has over the last 15 years. McIlroy has improved his physique, his strength, his swing width, and his acceleration through the ball. He is only about 5’9” but with the way he swings the club, it is as though he is 6’2” because of the way he has worked on his swing and his physique.
Looking at Tiger Woods’ swing, Breed feels that Tiger owns his swing on the practice range and on Thursday and Friday but not on the weekend. It seems as though Tiger still does not have enough confidence in his own swing as the weekend begins and the tournament is coming to a close. Breed likes what Tiger is doing but Tiger relies heavily on a cut instead of a draw and he also seems to have a bit of mental block on the weekend as the pressure increases. Breed has no doubt that Tiger will be able to overcome that issue because he has been able to overcome every other issue he has ever had on the course.
When asked about Phil Mickelson’s new claw grip with his putter, Breed said that the advantages of using the claw grip is that you are able to stabilize the face of the putter. If you open or close the face at impact, you have an effect on where the ball goes and many times it is the difference between making and missing a putt. As you stabilize the face, the ball goes on a better line and you begin to make more putts. When you get your wrist in line the back of your hand, you are able to keep the putter face perpendicular to the ground and there have been a number of great putters over the years whose only goal was to keep their putter on a consistent angle throughout the stroke.
As anchored putters have increased in popularity and notoriety, he sees a lot of players who are struggling with the yips turning to that method. When he is working with students who have those problems, Breed does not advise them to start anchoring their putters. Instead, he advices players to keep their standard putters and use the claw grip.