PGA Tour Gurus Don’t Understand Release! (Tony Finau)

finau release*An Archived Posting From December 06, 2015

I was looking for a good swing clip of Tony Finau today for whatever reason – I wasn’t going to profile his swing or anything, although he’s a prodigiously long hitter.

I was just looking to see what he pivot action looks like, and it’s not bad, but the one thing I learned about anything today while looking at Finau’s “Golf Digest” analysis was – and this is embarrassing to have to point out, I assure you – the swing gurus to the PGA Tour players don’t understand the release action of a proper golf swing…

Yes, it’s true.  And it’s deplorable.

Take a listen to this swing “analysis” by Mr. David Leadbetter, of whom you’ll know by now I am not a fan:

Tony Finau’s Swing Analyzed By D. Leadbetter


Did you catch that?  What Leadbetter says at 0:58 of the clip?

“You might say a little bit flippy through the ball but my goodness does he hit it and, uh…”

Uh…no, Mr. Leadbetter – you might say “a little bit flippy through the ball…” because I would call that a proper release.

finau release

Anyone who knows anything about mechanical action would say that Finau has a very good mechanical release action.

In fact, he could release even a little better, as you can see by the still-extended left arm a good ways past impact.

finau impact

That’s not “flippy.”  It’s called “releasing” the club.

Far from it, as the only way you can “flip” is to release the club prior to impact or the swing bottom, but as you can see, Finau hasn’t even begun to release in the second frame of the above pic.

Absolutely stunning to hear an instructor of Leadbetter’s stature saying something like this.



And here’s the kicker – the above comparison will tell you why Finau ranked 7th in driving distance at around 310 yards last season while Jordan Spieth languished around 80th place driving it 292 yards.

In effect, Leadbetter is criticizing the exact same thing that makes Finau the long hitter he is – a proper release through the swing bottom, and one that is still slightly held-off.

So, aside from having said nothing constructive instructionally in his swing analysis, Leadbetter wants to take his listeners away from Finau and towards Spieth.


10 thoughts on “PGA Tour Gurus Don’t Understand Release! (Tony Finau)

  1. bigtoilet

    Well I’m glad I didn’t have to read down (your analysis) because once I head his “flippy” comment, I had to laugh. Leadbetter, although he’s not a completely bad instructor & has SOME knowledge, can’t carry DJ Watt’s jock strap.

    And there is the sorry state of the modern swing theory. I guess Lead would take away Tony’s length…….glad Tony is working with Boyd Summerhays now instead of Leadbetter!!!! I guess Tony fired Lead…..good!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Wow, BT – I didn’t even know Finau used to be with Leadbetter until you just mentioned it.

      Apparently he called Summerhays up in April of 2014.

      And look what he did afterwards – finished 8th in the standings to qualify for PGA Tour… and finished 43rd in the 2015 Fed Ex Cup standings, earning over $2 million for the season.

      I’d say his best career decision to date was leaving Leadbetter. Something Michelle Wie should have done years and years ago…

  2. bigtoilet

    Jordan = back shifted lead hip combined with trail heel that is NOT leading the toe…..means ouch and loss of distance.

    Tony = Opposite of Jordan’s look in those two areas.
    Gimme Tony!

  3. andreasldswe

    Just a little background on Finau. When he and his brother Gipper were 16 or 17 Jesper Parnevik invited them over for a ET event in Stockholm. They were known for hitting it long. At the same time we had a LD event about 10min from there and 2 of the LDers had a Simulator at the ET event showing their skills and letting people try when not competing.

    The brothers stopped by one day and while lending LD clubs they were hitting in the 200mph range. Very fast indeed! So Tony is one of the few Tour guys that probably could do LD if he wanted to. Though I think he chose correctly 🙂

    They are related to, from what I know, LDer Ben Tuaone that lost in the final to Carl Wolter 2011 so its in their genes

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for that tip, Laser.

      Well, that makes me completely in error, as I was under the working assumption that he was done.

      Still, we’ll see how things go. If he’s swinging the same way, it will be a short-lived return, is all I’m going to say.

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