Time Catches Up To Dustin Johnson’s Left Knee (Modern Swing Injury)

Unless it comes out that Dustin Johnson injured his left knee coming down awkwardly from dunking in his bare feet, you can lay his left knee surgery at the feet of the Modern Golf Swing madness.

Considering he’s a very powerful swinger with a Gumby-like gift of flexibility, he actually got away with it far longer than he should have.

From GolfDigest online courtesy of Alex Myers:

Dustin Johnson became the latest former World No. 1 to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, his management team announced on Thursday.
According to a statement released to PGATour.com, Johnson had the “routine” operation done in Fort Lauderdale to repair cartilage damage in his left knee. The 20-time PGA Tour winner is “expected to make a full recovery before returning to competition later this fall.”

First of all, are they now saying that suffering cartilage damage swinging a golf club and the subsequent surgeries are now “routine” on Tour?  Because that’s news to me, although it would be exactly what I would expect.

Oh wait, here’s another GolfDigest online article, about Tiger Woods, from Joel Beall this time:

Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday afternoon via social media that he underwent surgery on his knee. Woods said he had an arthroscopic procedure last week during the Tour Championship on his left knee to repair minor cartilage damage.

OK, I guess it’s pretty routine.

So how do I know it’s the Modern Golf Swing that causes this issue?

If you look at a picture of the other DJ at the top of his swing, you’ll see he has a good deal of hip turn, and a vertical left thigh or femur (2), both of which will put a great deal of strain on the left knee ligaments with the planted heel (3).

I used to look at DJ at the top and feel my left knee aching…

Add the increased strain of the change of direction at the top when the left left begins to swing back to the target, and you have a recipe for injury sooner or later.

Tiger Woods, remember, began having left knee problems as early as his college days – and he’s now had yet another procedure on it.

This is Tiger’s swing back when he was turning pro, and you can see the same planted heel and where I years ago (this below pic is from 2014!) highlighted the danger areas, one of which is the left knee:

So… How Do I Know It’s The Modern Golf Swing That Causes This Issue?

Because it happened to me, the difference being I was (I guess) clever or let’s say fortunate enough to realize the problem when I experienced left knee pain back in the summer of 2008, three years after I began my swing research.

I used to ride my bike with a children’s trailer carrying my golf bag to the range and golf course during the ’08-’09 seasons (til I decided I was too old for this, the hills were getting steeper and steeper), and I have a distinct memory surrounding the left knee issue.

I was then working on figuring out swing mechanics and doing so while swinging with a planted-heel, modern golf model.

I was killing the ball, nothing wrong there. I had pretty good accuracy and consistency, again nothing wrong there.

But about a week after I began swinging this way, I was feeling left knee soreness, not only during my swinging but the remainder of the time, walking, riding the bike, etc.

I remember riding that bike and pulling that trailer up the last hill one day that summer, thinking, “I guess that left knee pain is going to be the price to pay for finding the proper swing…” and then I began to think about it.

When I got to the range and was all set up to start swinging, I started making back swings with an iron, working my way up to the Driver, to see how bad the pain would be that day.

I noticed that there wasn’t much if any with the iron, but when I widened my stance for the Driver swing, was when the pain started up again.

“Hmm,” I said, “Perhaps it’s the wider stance…” and that’s when it hit me.

I was straining the left knee by keeping the heel nailed to the ground on the back swing pivot, and the minute I switched to a “floating heel” action, the pain subsided.

The wider the stance and the longer the back swing, the more pain I felt.

“Well, of course!” I said to myself in annoyance – keeping the heel down during the back swing was what was doing it.  I was straining my left knee ligaments swinging that way.

I had only ever been taught this method, and this was me back in 1998, the last year I had a golf lesson:

You can also see the beginnings of a “flying foot” there, swinging that way, due to the anchored right toe – more twisting forces on the left knee due to that, and this is why today’s swingers are jumping off the left foot through impact, so as not to snap the left knee or ankle anchoring the right foot in place.

I was especially fortunate that I quit playing golf the next year out of frustration with no being to able to swing the way I felt I should have been able to, otherwise I might have done some damage to that left knee had I continued.

Back to ’08 – since there was no LAW that said I had to swing that way – remember that I began my swing research thinking that some version of the Modern Golf Swing was the proper action, which is why it took me some time going back and forth between it and the Classic action to come to the conclusion I did – I stopped swinging that way, even for research purposes.

Within a week, the pain and soreness had vanished.

Had I continued to swing that way, being a power swinger, I would have certainly caused enough damage to my left knee ligaments to either rupture them or tear them, and I would have required surgery.

Funny enough, I’ve never had a hint of left knee pain in the 11 years since that summer, even though I’m older and fatter and even more out of shape than I was at the time.

And I can probably drive the ball as far as I was back then, because my technique has improved even as my athletic ability has deteriorated with increasing age.

I can still swing as hard as I want, with no fear of any left knee injury, because I swing mechanically-correctly, and have done so since that summer of ’08.

After that summer, I knew the the Classic Golf Swing model was the one to use, and the intervening years have merely been a search for exactly how to fashion an optimal model from the Classic method.

So, my question is – if it took only three short summer seasons (I usually hit balls from April to September back then due to northern weather) for me to figure this out, without a kinesiology or biomechanics education, and who only ever picked up a golf club at age 25, had my first golf lesson a 27 and my last one at 28, and who didn’t even play golf between 1999 and when I began my swing research in 2005…

What is going in in the realm of golf swing science and mechanics???  Why haven’t they figured this out yet, and if they have, why are players still swinging this way?

It doesn’t add power, or consistency or lengthen one’s career.  All it does it tear the body apart.

I’m still waiting for an answer to this question that isn’t “because they can…”

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