Despite winning last year at the Honda Classic, Rory Sabbatini decided to make a change. After the first few months of the 2012 season, Sabbatini began working on a swing revamp with Rick Smith.
As he returns to Quail Hollow for the Wells Fargo Championship, where he finished third last year, Sabbatini feels the changes are starting to feel more natural.
'Hilton Head was the first week I felt like I was comfortable with the modifications being made. I really felt like I played well,' Sabbatini said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. 'I didn't putt as well as I would like but I felt really good about the changes I had made.'
The South African has a rapport with his instructor, who formerly worked with Phil Mickelson, which facilitates trust.
'What I like about Rick is that we have a really good understanding of what the other is trying to put emphasis on or explain,' he said. 'I like that he knows where I'm trying to go and what my concerns are, and how to get us there at the right pace. It's a very comfortable working environment. It's given me confidence in what he's trying to do and trust in it.'
Sabbatini now enters a month-long stretch of events where he has thrived. Beyond Quail Hollow, he has won at Colonial and the Byron Nelson while posting four consecutive top-20 finishes at the Memorial Tournament. Given his track record in these May events, Sabbatini admits fighting to maintain patience in the process while playing.
'That's definitely a battle, having better patience and understanding it's going to take some time, and allowing yourself that time,' he said. 'We're not in any kind of rush here. We're not trying to change everything in one week. We're taking a long term outlook.'