With his second win in three worldwide starts, Jon Rahm has packed the top of the world rankings with another swing that anybody could pick out of a range lineup.
The new world No. 2 shares the same idiosyncratic bent left wrist position at the top of his backswing as top-ranked Dustin Johnson, but Rahm smashes his shots with a much shorter swing. The 23-year-old from Spain is two inches shorter than DJ, and plays more of a thick-chested power forward to Johnson's long and limber shooting guard. For each player, the physical and mechanical elements match up to produce elite driving.
Rahm averaged 310 yards off the tee for the week in Palm Springs--a 30-yard advantage over fellow playoff participant Andrew Landry.
Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Brian Manzella says Rahm's shorter backswing--the club stops significantly short of parallel at the top--and notably weak grip set the stage for what happens in the downswing. "The grip is what makes him have to arch his left wrist more than than normal--to get the clubface where it needs to be," says Manzella, who is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans. "The shorter backswing makes it look like he's looping the club when his right arm drops near his torso on the downswing, but it's really a very conventional move. It just looks loopy because it has to happen in a shorter period of time."
Still photographs of Rahm at impact show that the club hasn't "lined up" with his left arm at impact, but don't make the mistake of trying to copy that lag move by trying to hold on to any wrist hinge in your swing down through the ball, Manzella says. "Even though his club is short of lining up with his left arm at impact, it lines up with the right arm before the next parallel shaft position," says Manzella. "He's not dragging the handle through impact. He's a well-timed thrower!"