Jon Rahm Calls Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods & Others “Weekend Players”

This is great – how many times have analysts used Modern Golf Swing principles to critique the greatest players in golf’s long history?

Now we have Jon Rahm (although he likely didn’t write the piece with his name on it) calling Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, and Tiger Woods (among others) nothing short of “weekend players.”

Not directly, but then again, that’s what happens when you either let others do your writing for you, or when you don’t really know what you’re talking about – take your pick.

In his piece on power, Ram says a lot of good things, like letting the big muscles power the swing and not arms or hands.

But one thing stood out in his take on the stance (pictured below, from the piece), in which he says:

You want to feel more weight in your rear hip, but you shouldn’t tilt your upper body to get there

… My No. 1 key is to concentrate at least 60 percent of my weight in my right leg. But I don’t tilt to the right to set my weight, like some weekend players do

Hmmm… “some weekend players” tilt their upper bodies to the right, Jon?


So, let’s take a look at the G.O.A.T., who retired from PGA Tour golf with 73 Tour victories and 18 majors (including 19 runner-up finishes in majors), one Jack Nicklaus at address, both during his early dominant years and in his instruction to others on how to stand over the ball:

Nicklaus 1960’s Beside The Standard MCS Setup

Jack Nicklaus’ Stance With Different Clubs

How about Sam Snead, the current winningest-ever PGA Tour player (Tiger Woods is currently 2nd and will end his career in 2nd with both total wins and majors won), and his address stance over a ball:

How about Tiger Woods, when he was the greatest amateur player the world has ever seen (3-time Jr. US Am, 3-time US Amateur), and at the beginning of his pro career, how about his stance over the ball at the time?

Let’s see how he stood over the ball at address with regards to body tilt and being over the right side:

Looks like another one of Jon Rahm’s “some weekend players” who happens to be either the greatest ever golfer or the 2nd greatest after Jack Nicklaus, another apparent “weekend player…”

All kidding aside, Rahm does have some valid points on the swing along with some other things with which I’d disagree:

My teacher in Spain used to tell me to let my big muscles do the work.


That’s why my backswing turn is powered mostly by my back and shoulders.

Strongly disagree – the strongest muscles are in the hips and legs, and I hope Rahm just misunderstands what he’s doing because if he’s using his back to power his swing, he isn’t going to last long.

The last thing you want is any lateral movement on your backswing. Sway is not your friend.


In the sidebar below, you can see how resisting and sequencing your downswing with a shorter backswing can pay huge dividends.

Strongly disagree – if you’re “resisting” the back swing, you’re restricting the hip turn and relying on violent change of direct like Jason Day to power the swing, and while you can do it that way, no one has yet shown that you can do it for long before injuries begin to pile up.

Now, I have seen Rahm swinging in the above manner with the severely-resisting and restricted back swing, but when he was swinging that way, he was more known for an infamous shank than for anything else… just saying…

Not to mention, while Rahm does show a planted and hip-restricting back swing above in the piece, which shows a really twisting lower back and a left thigh not even close to vertical:

However that’s not how he was swinging when I profiled him in May, where you can see the full hip turn to the extent that his leading heel separates from the ground:

And remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge and high lift like Nicklaus’ – any heel separation shows that the hips are turning past where they would turn with a fully planted and frozen leading foot.

So, some hits and misses in this Rahm piece, but I was especially amused to read that “some weekend players” tilt the upper body to the right at address!

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video

12 thoughts on “Jon Rahm Calls Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods & Others “Weekend Players”

  1. Mitch

    I think you said once before that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, DJ. It looks like some of that going on with Golf Magazine’s ghost writers!

  2. targettom

    Even my friend the physio thought Tiger’s planted foot/restricted swing was where he got his power. So I pointed out what you have shown, that the lower back was not intended to be separated from the upper back in a twisting motion. Finally he agreed. This guy is a great physio yet even he bought into the MS B.S. unquestioningly.

    Even if Rahm didn’t write it, he signed off on it. Rahm can add ignorance to his current list of arrogance and petulance.

    1. D Watts Post author

      A lot of professionals in the rehab and related industry have unfortunately been taken in by the Modern Golf stuff, Tom.

      And I’ll repeat – any kinesiology or biomechanics degree isn’t worth the paper upon which it’s printed if people are graduating these programs building and proposing Modern Golf Swing principles.

      The first requirement of such study is that any motion being advanced must be mechanically-correct – so all Modern Golf Swing models, if they possess planted-heel restricted-hip and lower-back-twisting moves, fail right right out of the gate.

      A revamp is sorely needed, no pun intended.

  3. b.mattay

    This might be a case of “do what I do, not what I say”. Rahm actually has a lot of a tilt in his address position, especially if the camera was actually truly face on. Maybe he is trying to suggest you should keep the pelvis neutral at address and is miscommunication his “feels”.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Your guess is as good as mine, b.mattay!

      All I know is that calling a right-biased spine tilt for “some weekend players” is about the funniest thing I’ve read about swing analysis in some time 😀

  4. jh32

    Wait, if you’re a weekend player on the PGA then you will have a greater chance of being in the money and/or a win??? Okay, I knew what you meant. Jim

  5. hkgolf

    Hey DJ I see very little wrist cock in Rahm’s backswing. I guess that is his way of removing an “uunnecessary” part to simplify the swing?? Powerful downswing to make up for the loss in leverage from not unhinging the wrists from the top of swing.


    1. D Watts Post author

      It’s likely just a personal thing, HKGolf, but if I had to speculate, Rahm doesn’t have much wrist cock because his back swing is so short, he wouldn’t have time to un-cock fully during the down swing due to how short the down swing is.

      Bottom line is that the amount of wrist cock is not anything that is going to make or break a swinger. Rahm has personal quirks in his swing that may help him and hurt others, but no, it’s not removing an un-necessary part. My two cents!

  6. targettom

    looks to me like he bows his wrist about as far as it can go, which accounts for at least some of his extra distance over the ‘average’ PGA player; but wouldn’t one have to compensate for the tendency to hook it with the bowed wrist?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Usually the case, Tom. But the wrist-bowing is a personal idiosyncrasy of Rahm’s, and you’ll find much more successful golfers than he, without the bowed wrist. So if you’re going to emulate someone to achieve success – I recommend Nicklaus, Snead, etc… 😉

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