Kuchar's game is booming with the one-plane swing
Back in 1998, when Matt Kuchar was smiling his way to finishing T-21 in the Masters and T-14 in the U.S. Open as an amateur, it seemed as if he was destined for golf stardom. Twelve years later, with only two tour wins in more than 210 events, Kuchar hasn't exactly lived up to those expectations, but he is finally starting to play world-class golf. After his victory at the Turning Stone Resort Championship late last year, he has had nine more top-10 finishes -- and in June jumped into the top 25 in the World Golf Ranking.
An overhauled swing has made a big difference, according to his teacher, Chris O'Connell. "When I first met Matt, he would aim left of his target, turn his shoulders flat in the backswing, and then thrust his hips toward the target line," O'Connell says. "This inside-to-outside path, coupled with his aim, required him to block the ball toward the target. He also had a very shallow angle of attack and excessive clubface rotation through impact. He was way too reliant on timing, and he couldn't produce enough spin on middle- and long-iron shots."
So they went to work on Kuchar's alignment (more to the right), backswing (steeper shoulder turn) and downswing (aggressive body turn through the ball). The final pieces are changing his hip thrust into a hip rotation and getting his hands and arms to stay closer to his body, so the clubface will be more stabilized during impact. If that sounds like a lot, it is, but it's starting to pay off. -- Ron Kaspriske