Too Many Swing Thoughts
'I've got like 8,000 golf swing videos:' Jason Day's very relatable problem
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jason Day is on the comeback trail, a journey he hopes will lead him up back to World No. 1. But in order to accomplish that task, Day is going to have to forge a new path.
And it's his golf swing that holds the key.
Speaking to the media ahead of the 2023 Masters, Day admits one he took to get there the first time won't work again.
"When I got to No. 1 in the world, it came from a very hard place. Sacrifice everything. Forget about how your body feels, just force it," he says. "It got me to No. 1, but it wasn't sustainable."
Jared C. Tilton
This time around, Day is embarking on an ambitious retooling of his golf swing under the eye of Golf Digest Top 50 teacher Chris Como. The first time around, Day said his swing wasn't as "technically sound" as it is now, but that he learned to play what he had.
"I kind of knew my tendencies, and I didn't really have a lot of swing thoughts," he says. "I just kind of aimed a little right and hit these pull draws."
That imperfect process allowed him to navigate safely from tee-to-green, and allow his putting to do the rest. It worked, but it also took a heavy toll on his body.
"I would putt for two-and-a-half hours a day," he says. "My back would be sore, and my mentality was, 'No, you've just got to push through it.'"
Day was playing with fire, and eventually, it burned him. The pain became too much, and the injuries took their toll. When he called upon Como as his new swing coach, his mandate was clear: Help him build a golf swing that would take him out of pain. It would require some big changes that Como told Day would be best served taking slowly.
The key beats, Como says, is taking the flex out of his trail knee on the backswing, and approaching the ball from a shallower path on the downswing with more rotation. The end goal is to turn that once stock pull-draw into a low-spinning, Jon Rahm-style fade.
Day says he's not in the mood to wait around. He's diving straight in to get the change settled into his swing quickly. The early returns, by all accounts, are good: He's got six top 10s in 13 events so far this season. The tradeoff is that his head is currently swirling with a series of different swing thoughts at any given moment.
"I'm thinking about making sure that I have good hip turn on the way back; that the right elbow flares out enough on top of the swing; that I have a little bit of a squat going into transition; the right arm goes down the right side of my body; that I rotate; that I get my hands low and make sure I get my right wrist and get my right hand on top," he explains.
"I looked at my phone the other day. I think I've got like 8,000 videos and probably 7,999 of them are golf swing videos."
But of course, Day has to go compete this week— a problem to which the rest of us can no doubt relate. You want to improve your swing, but you also want to play better tomorrow.
As for how he manages that balance? It's hard work, Day says, and admits he's still thinking more than he should. But ultimately, Day says he tries to pick one, or maximum two swing thoughts to take to the course at any given moment.
"If I can move it to the point where I could maybe have one or two swing thoughts, that helps," he says.
That means accepting your swing won't land in the perfect spot. But it's a process. Even a fast-tracked overhaul is one that takes time. A journey with twists and turns, but one that with enough time, patience, and hard work, means it was one worth taking.