What Happened To Jason Day? Alignment?

I noticed something when the wheels came off Jason Day’s cart, and because I was watching live and couldn’t record the round, I had to wait for the video later to see if I’d actually seen what I thought I saw.

I am pretty sure that I got it right, although I initially thought that Day was standing with a closed stance to his target line, which for someone who stands square to the line for the most part, would cause either a right push or a pull hook depending on how you come into the ball (from the inside or over the top).

I tweeted it at the time, but deleted the tweet because it seems not that he was standing with a closed line to the target, but with his shoulders open to the target line – but since I don’t know where he was aiming, it could be either.

Let’s take a look at my first notice on the 12th – as Jason stood over the ball, I happened to glance at his feet and my thought was, “Wow, that’s a pretty closed stance,” because of the difference between that and his shoulder line.

However, seeing that the ball went exactly where his shoulders were pointing and that it was a pull-hook, when I drew the lines on where he would have been aiming based on trying to hit a draw down the right fairway – that was likely the correct foot line with a way open shoulder position, wouldn’t you say?

There is no way you’re going to hit a draw down the right side the way Day was set up – a high fade down the left is what it looked like he was going for, with a very closed foot-line.

Shoulders going left, and a very high right heel through impact (aggressive hip turn from the top), and you’re going to get “Fore Left!” all day long…

That was the first I noticed it, and then on the very next hole, I could have sworn I saw the exact same thing – that his foot line and shoulder line were no where near the same, and again, he yanked the ball left on his tee shot:

Now, I know that target and ball fight lines can be tough to judge based on the camera angle, especially when shooting down the line, but you can’t deny that Day’s shoulders above are not even close to being on the same line as his feet.

In fact, that stance line might even be drawn a little left of the actual line, because if you have more flare to the leading foot than the trailing, the leading toes will be further from the line (just slightly) than the trailing if the heels are parallel – and that would mean an even bigger difference between the shoulder line and actual aim line.

It’s just a shame that no one in his camp noticed this at the time, because he was in it until the 18th hole debacle, but even if he birdied 3 straight after the mid-back-nine chaos – he didn’t know where his ball was going off the tee for most of that back nine.

So, this is a great lesson for the lower-skilled golfers who watch the best in the world going at it – you can always fall out of your proper stance or mechanics, especially under pressure, and it’s crucial to both know what your proper stance and mechanics are (instead of changing them day to day), and to be aware of things like this when you start hitting the ball strangely.

I would hope that someone close to Day was looking at his setup when he began hitting everything left, and they well might have, but that stance and shoulder line stood out like a sore thumb as I idly watched Day setting up on the 12th hole.

I bailed on the coverage after the 14th tee, seeing how it had been four and a half hours since the leader teed off, and I simply lost interest in the proceedings, whatever was going on.

I did however catch Kisner’s water ball (the TV was still playing while I did other things), and I saw Day behind the tree on 18 at another point and wondered what on earth was going on with these guys.

Pressure will do a lot of negative things to your game, and when you get a little numb from the adrenaline, it’s easy to get out of sync with your setup and/or mechanics.

Always take care of the fundamentals!

I said yesterday that I was betting on either Day or Matsuyama to take it.

Hideki is still there, just one off Kisner’s lead after all 3 in the last group played a very shaky 3rd round with all coming in over par… Louis Oosthuizen is the only past major winner anywhere near the lead at -5, two strokes back so…

… gotta say it’s anyone’s game today, and although the winner is more apt than not to be in the group T4 and higher… likely to be a rock road to the finish!

PSHappy International Left-Handed Day to all of my fellow sinister-sided people!

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12 thoughts on “What Happened To Jason Day? Alignment?

  1. targettom

    thanks for the observations about the shoulder line.

    At the range I like to experiment with controlled draws and fades. I naturally draw the ball, so when I want to fade it I just open my stance and shoulder line a little, while trying to open the face very slightly; what I have found is that for me to fade it I have to really concentrate on staying down and hitting through the ball. This concentration leads to many good things, one of which
    is the ball carries further (even if it doesn’t roll out further). It seems that I have more sweet spot hits when I try the power fade. When I mishit it, it usually just goes straight but sometimes its a pull. Gotta work on it more

  2. targettom

    Im still catching up on 3rd round coverage; our good friend Peter Kostis mentioned on 16 that Jason may have been ‘setting up more left than he realizes’. PK actually did well in his analysis in this round I think

    1. D Watts Post author

      Well, since that doesn’t involve giving “neutral” praise to modern swing moves that he claims to hate… I guess he couldn’t get that wrong.

      It was pretty obvious from the dtl that Day’s setup was off-kilter, if one were looking for it. “May have” is another cop-out. This guy’s always tip-toeing around the players. Take a stand!

      I’m about to turn on the TV to watch live. I know… I should record it and watch later. But I just came home from the lake with the kids and I need a nap 😉

  3. jh32

    Jason’s coach is also his caddie? But he can’t stand behind him during the stroke, so he may not be noticing it.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Jim, you’re absolutely right! I forgot that his caddie is also his coach, and therefore could not have seen what we would have seen. So, they would have to see it afterward.

      That’s not to say that he couldn’t have stood behind him while he set up, but that’s an LPGA move 😉

        1. D Watts Post author

          I haven’t checked the stats Jim, and I’m actually torn when it comes to that.

          On the one hand, the player is the one swinging and the rule is that one can’t use create markers such as people or personal objects to set your line while swinging or putting.

          So, letting a caddie line up the player before walking away during the actual swing, while not an actual violation of that rule, kind of fudges it – if you’re good enough to be playing at that level, isn’t it kind of like having the coach come out to the free-throw line and set you up before every shot?

          It’s not against the rules, but it strikes me as splitting the hairs very finely in that regard.

          1. jh32

            I agree. I’ve never liked that for any one. It takes an element away from the game. You either learn to set up right, or your shots will go where they go, unless you compensate during the swing. it’s part of the game.

  4. Marcel Fastier

    Agree. Surely a pro can align themselves. Also what is your thought on caddies reading putts for pros and even telling them what iron to use. I mean to say, the pro is the one with his name on the bag, not the caddy. Surely he can read his own putts. If that was me I wouldn’t want someone else tossing in his 2 cents worth, adding to the confusion.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Marcel, good question. My personal opinion means nothing but, if the caddie is going to do all of that, then perhaps the caddie’s names should also be on the winning trophies as part of a “winning team.”

      I mean, other than carrying the bag, cleaning the clubs and perhaps offering course knowledge/giving yardages (which is why the players were smart to use Augusta National caddies during the Masters in the past, for course knowledge, especially if they’d never played there before), I don’t think a player should rely on the caddie for much else.

      If you can’t pull your own club and hit the shot you need to hit or choose a line for the putt (although technically, I suppose this might fall into the ‘course knowledge’ aspect, but there is saying that a putt is likely to break left and then there is choosing the actual line) without consultation, you have to admit your caddie is more important than everyone says he is.

      I also don’t know why it’s against the rules to get advice from or give advice to another player during competition – the caddies are doing that nonstop! 😉

      My opinion.

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