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Capital One's The Match

The Match 2024: 4 easy-to-remember tips from some of the best swings in golf


Tracy Wilcox

February 22, 2024

The latest iteration of Capital One's The Match is back, with a star studded skins match up between Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang, Max Homa and Rory McIlroy.

There'll be lots of fun banter and entertaining golf to watch, but for the golf nerds, so much to learn from four of the best golf swings in the world.

So let's break down a key move from each ...

Rory McIlroy: Stretch the lead arm


Tracy Wilcox

Last year, Rory McIlroy told me he often focuses on the movement of his lead arm, which is the left arm for right-handed golfers, on the backswing.

"I felt like I got so right-sided in my thoughts,” he said of his swing in 2022. "I’m trying to have more awareness of what my left arm is doing in the backswing."

When he gets too ride-sided, McIlroy says his swing tends to move too much around his body. His goal is to stretch his left arm back on the takeaway, then extend it up towards the sky on the backswing. Watch for it during The Match.

Lexi Thompson: Load the trail hip

If you follow Lexi Thompson on Instagram, you may have noticed she'll often practice with a band around her legs.

That's a training aid she used while working with Tony Ruggiero, called the Pivot Pack. The resistance band helps her—and other golfers—load into her trail leg (right leg for right-handed golfers), which she can later use to explode off it with more power.

"Using resistance bands for drills that make you learn and develop the ability to make the new movement," Ruggiero explains. "These also develop a feel for what the new movement feels like, and what your swing will be."

Rose Zhang: Get to your lead side

Amateur golfers struggle getting to their lead side enough on their downswing, which can create many flaws in their golf swing. Pros can struggle with it, too. It's something Zhang works on often: Transferring her weight over to her left leg towards the end of the backswing.

"Sometimes we have a little bit of a problem getting into that left side, because a lot of players today are hitting off of their right side," Zhang's coach, George Pinnell, says. “We like to see everything get over on the left side.”


Michael Reaves

Max Homa: Quiet wrists on wedges

Whenever Max Homa gets a wedge in his hands during The Match, watch his wrists. In his cover story from a few years ago, Homa says amateurs could benefit from keeping their wrists quiet and wide on shorter wedge shots, to help them make more consistent contact.

"The most forgiving wedge shot comes from a swing with a wider arc and minimal hinging and unhinging of the wrists ... When you’re struggling with these shots, it’s usually because you’re making a steep swing and hitting the ground in inconsistent places ... Stay stable and make a backswing with very little wrist set (above). With less set and a wider arc, the attack angle will be much shallower, and the ball comes out lower."