Alexis Thompson and Jim Furyk

Worked with Alexis Thompson for 2 hours.

She looks much better than when I saw her last week.

It is amazing how golf swings change for the younger generation. All of us know that our swings can change. However,  juniors under 20 can have wild swing variances. If not careful, juniors can get a lot worse very quickly. Conversely, a youngster can improve dramatically in a very short space of time.

I’m a big believer in talent. I think talent is underrated. Some people just “have the aptitude” for the game of golf. Just like in every other walk of life. Some people have the aptitude to be an actor. Some have the aptitude for business. Alexis is like that; she can flat out play. I expect she will do very well in her next LPGA event (Birmingham next week).

Jim Furyk is one of the most interesting golfers on tour. As a junior, he was not put into some ‘perfect program’ and made to swing a certain way. I admire his Father, Mike, who was a PGA professional, for not changing Jim’s swing. That would have been a tough one. I’ve talked with Mike many times and we are friends. I vote for him as the National PGA Teacher of the Year!  Why not? Jim has won over 55 million on the PGA Tour with a swing nobody would give a chance.

Bruce Lietzke changed Jim’s life. Mike asked Bruce what to do with his son’s unusual golf swing when Jim was just 16 years old. Mike told Bruce that Jim’s swing looked awkward, but he hit the ball very  well and won events. Bruce, who had an unusual swing himself (just the opposite of Furyk) told Mike to leave the young boy’s swing alone. Bruce knew there were many unusual swings on the PGA Tour and that many young kids are ruined by being forced to change their natural action.

Jim Furyk and Bruce Lietzke were two big parts of my recent book The Slot Swing, which shows readers the 3 basic swing shapes that work on the PGA Tour.  The main point of the book is about how you slot the club in the downswing.  Obviously it is the downswing that is most important since there are no two backswings that are the same..Furyk is great on the downswing where he keeps his clubface square for a long time combined with a nuetral swing path. And he can repeat under pressure. Who has won more money on the PGA Tour than Furyk? Clue: it’s a very short list.

Getting back to Alexis. I work hard on center contact, tempo, and simple ideas. We spend a lot of time on short game stuff. In reality I’m just guiding her along. I’m smart enough to see that she has massive talent and the desire to be great. I worry much more about ruining a talented player, than in building a perfect looking golf swing. I see Alexis ripping 280 yard drives, one after another.  I know she can hit it, so I’m very careful about how we work.
Another opinion:  The LPGA needs a young American Star right now when the economy is tough and the money is very tight.  Lexi Thompson is the most exciting young player on the planet. The LPGA commissioner should make an exception and let Lexi play more than 6 events per year, the current maximum for that tour. Yes, she is only 15 years old. but she is obviously one of the top players in women’s golf right now. She had a top 10 at the US Open and a runner-up at Evian where all the top ranked players competed.

Next up: Ryder Cup

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For the Jim McLean Golf School site, go here.

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Scott Martin, a copywriter who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, is helping me with my blog. For his site, go here. Scott’s helping me with a business book.

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Alexis Thompson and Jim Furyk

5 thoughts on “Alexis Thompson and Jim Furyk

  1. Tom says:

    Jim,

    Glad to see you are finally working again with Lexi. Hopefully you have her back on track, especially with her putting, after your buddy Greg Norman put false notions in her head about her being a timid putter.

    Anyway, I look forward to better results in the Navistar for Lexi than she has had in her last 2 events.

    1. Thanks for the comments.

      Alexis is not allowed to attempt q school until age 18. That’s the LPGA rule even if Alexis might be better than 95% of those on the tour now. Having a great young player on the LPGA can only help the LPGA.

      1. Tom says:

        Jim,

        I know about the age situation and that is an issue for the LPGA tour commissioner as to whether or not to grant an age exemption. It is my understanding that her parents are not going to petition the LPGA tour commissioner for an age exemption this year unless Lexi were to win an event and she only has one more LPGA tour event scheduled, next week, the Navistar.

        I also know that Lexi is a talented golfer, but she has no right to expect more than anyone else has been given in the past and 6 exemptions is the limit.

        She can play elsewhere to fill her schedule and I might even suggest to you that she play a few eGolf tour events in off weeks just to keep competitively sharp for when she competes against women. Naturally, if she plays in a few eGolf tour events she would have to make it clear that she is only doing so to keep her game in shape, and she has zero intentions of competing against men on either the Nationwide Tour or the PGA TOUR.

  2. Tom says:

    Jim,

    One more thing about Lexi’s LPGA tour schedule.

    If she wants to play more on the LPGA tour there was a simple way to do that, enter LPGA tour q-school and qualify for the LPGA tour, otherwise you get what you get, 6 sponsor’s exemptions and IMO, that’s all she deserves to get without qualifying.

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