If you follow the conventional wisdom about Sergio Garcia's distinctive swing -- that he "lags" the club by holding his wrist angle until late in the downswing -- he shouldn't have even been able to get the club on the ball in the rough at No. 10 at Oakmont Country Club.
But Garcia slashed out from the first cut from 130 yards out and ended up 10 feet from the hole, where he converted his birdie. He ended up 2-under for his first round, two behind Andrew Landry.
Garcia's lag doesn't have anything to do with wrist strength or hanging on -- or anything close to it, says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs. "Garcia's hands might be forward and the clubhead de-lofted when he gets to impact, but his angle of attack is still very shallow -- like an airplane coming in for a landing," says Jacobs, who is based at the X Golf School at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville. "It's the speed of his body turn in the downswing that makes the club flatten out like that. He's transferring a huge amount of power to the clubhead, not holding anything back."
What does that mean for the average golfer? Two things, Jacobs said. "First, quit trying to "create lag" with your hands. All you're doing is pushing the handle forward and slowing the clubhead down," he says. "Second, copying a tour player's positions in a static photograph is a tough proposition, because so many other body moves go into getting to that spot at that time. Sergio is a perfect example. If you try to do what you think he's doing, you'll stick the club in the ground and hit lots of fat or weak shots."