LONG AND LIMBER
Vijay's gift is great rhythm
By Jim McLean
If you watched Vijay Singh on the practice tee, where you can usually find him, you'd learn plenty to help your game. You'd see the beautiful preparatory moves he makes before the swing. How he carefully positions his feet, or the forward press with his right knee and hands, like Sam Snead used to do. But once he put the club in motion, you'd marvel at his fantastic rhythm. Vijay has classic positions, great footwork, a massive move behind the ball and a major release of his entire body. And it's all tied together with great rhythm.
As you can see from these sequence photos, when Vijay starts the club back, everything rotates away from the target, including his head. His left knee breaks to the right, and his hips start to rotate, setting up a big turn to the top. As he starts down, it's amazing how long the clubhead stays back -- he has great clubhead lag (below, frame 5). His knees stay flexed, with both feet firmly on the ground. He's braced and poised to release the energy he has stored on the backswing.
At impact, Vijay's right heel is off the ground and, again like Snead, his hands and arms stay close to his body. These positions prove how smooth and relaxed Vijay is through the ball -- nothing is forced or tense. I also like the relaxed look of his front shoulder at impact and how it pulls away from his chin. That's a big-time power move. Many amateurs get gathered up in that area, which reduces extension through the shot and saps power.
Vijay sets up slightly open for his predominant shot, a gentle fade with the irons and a power fade with the driver. For a strong player, the fade is the greatest weapon in golf. Like Ben Hogan and Tom Kite, two other extremely dedicated practicers, Vijay has built a swing that has improved with age.
Ranked No. 3 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, McLean is based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.