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Time to go back to the basics for Newman

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Most professional golfers fear one thing – a Democratic president. Every professional golfer, however, fears something else – a two-way miss.

Jack Newman has been battling the latter for some time now. “My miss,” he said, “was always short, right. Then I started missing it hot and left. I never missed the ball left in my life. It was a terrible feeling – I had no idea where the ball was going when I didn’t hit a good shot. You can’t play that way, because you can’t take trouble out of the equation.”

At the beginning of the season, Newman teamed with noted instructor Mike Bender to adjust his swing mechanics. The result was a more rounded motion, one that wrapped around his body (think Matt Kuchar). But after months of inconsistency, frustration and two-way misses, Newman decided that it was time to revert to his swing of old.

“My swing has always been more upright, which I think works better because of my height (6’4”). I just started to realize that I needed to go back to what made me successful in the past – I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Newman’s past successes include a victory in the 2008 U.S. Public Links Championship and a subsequent start in the ’09 Masters Tournament.

Those accomplishments only fueled Newman’s expectations as he attempted to further his professional career – leading him to want to make adjustments in his swing to improve.

It didn’t help Newman’s psyche that while he was struggling to make cuts on the Hooters Tour, several other mini-tour regulars were performing admirably in Nationwide Tour opportunities, including a pair of players, Ted Potter Jr. and Russell Knox, winning tournaments on the developmental circuit.

“I spent too much time paying attention to what others were doing. My expectations got blown out of proportion,” Newman said. “Now, I’m trying to relax and just worry about myself, just focus on what I am doing.

“I do have the talent. I’m not going to win every week. I’ve got to scrap out a top-15 or top-20 finish when I’m not having a good week.”

As Newman’s attitude has improved, so, too, have his results. He’s made three of his last four cuts on the Hooters Tour, including a season-best T-16 during that stretch.

Reverting back to his old mechanics has been beneficial as well. Newman said that he and Bender haven’t been in contact for a while but that he expects that they will keep in touch in the future.

For now, he’s going old school, doing what so many of previous generation players advocate:  figuring his swing out by himself.

In the near future, Newman will be playing a Hooters Tour event in Asheboro, N.C., starting Thursday. He’ll then head up to East Lansing, Mich., his collegiate stomping grounds, for a five-on-five golf tournament between some Michigan State and University of Michigan alumni.

After a week off, it’s three more weeks of Hooters Tour events in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. He’s then hoping to Monday qualify for a couple of Nationwide Tour events before it comes time to put his full focus on Q-School.

Newman is also changing his home base from Oxford, Ohio to East Lansing, as his home host, Casey Lubahn, is transitioning from Miami University head golf coach to the same position at MSU.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Newman said. “It’s going to be fun getting back to a place where I know people and still have some friends.”

Fun is something Newman is experiencing once again and he’s doing so thanks to initiative.

“I knew some things, a few things had to change. I was not having the summer I wanted and it was up to me to make things right,” he said.

“Now, I’m treating each tournament like a little adventure. I’m more comfortable on the course than I have been in a while and I’m really starting to focus on me and what I need to do to be successful.

“I’m maturing and learning that I need to get out of my own way.”

That maturation process has been aided within the last month, watching players like Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke win major championships in equally impressive fashions.

“You have to believe that you can do it,” Newman said. “These guys are contending and winning major championships, but for yourself, you have to believe that eventually you can get there. That, at least for now, you can continue to improve and move on to the next tour.

“It’s a process and you have to focus on what you can control now. That’s where I’m at.”