SAN DIEGO – Harris English began the 2013-14 season as the hottest American in the game, winning his first PGA Tour event, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, and posting seven top-15 finishes through his first 10 starts.
But things started to become a struggle after that. He failed to hit fairways or hole crucial putts and closed the season outside the top 30 on the FedEx Cup point list, a Ryder Cup afterthought.
“I definitely needed to be more consistent, that was the main thing. I felt like my greens in regulation stat was really good. But my driving and putting were not consistent enough,” said English, who emerged as the Day 2 leader at the Farmers Insurance Open following a 66 on the North Course.
In August he switched swing coaches, joining the growing staff of Scott Hamilton, and spent this offseason focused on playing the game like he did when he was young – with feel.
In simplest terms, Hamilton quieted English’s pivot and reduced his lateral movement.
“I take something that’s really complicated and I bring it down to the simplest things,” Hamilton said. “I don’t tell people much. I tell them one thing. I find out what the tumor is and I work on the tumor.”
English settled on a new driver before teeing off at last month’s Sony Open - a Callaway Double Black Diamond model - and finished tied for third in Hawaii.
The final piece of the puzzle fell into place after last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, where Hamilton said English was pulling his putts. This week, student and teacher squared up English’s alignment and the result has been a bogey-free two days and a dominant performance on the greens; he’s third this week in strokes gained putting.
“I've been having a lot more fun since I know where the ball's been going these past couple months and I'm looking forward to the next couple years with working with Scott and to see what we can accomplish,” English said.