Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson … and ‘one of the biggest faults of most amateurs’
Phil Mickelson talked first of training. Then using a heavy club. Then using a swing trainer.
He then talked of getting his nervous system to fire faster. And a front-leg push. And watching your knee. And what he calls his release point. But there was more.
Afterward, Greg Norman added to it.
We’ll keep things here just instruction-focused. Promise.
On a video shown Friday during LIV Golf’s broadcast of its Chicago event, Mickelson was going over distance and speed and having both of them at a good level over the age of 50. They are subjects the 53-year-old knows well. The full version, which you can watch here, is over 11 minutes long. The televised version was shorter.
Toward the end, though, Mickelson talked of an error he’s had to work through.
“But what I do notice is that as I speed the swing up, I have to change what I call my release point in the golf swing,” the six-time major winner said. “So I have such a long, kind of lazy swing, which is a real plus to my longevity, which is reducing a lot of pressure on my body — it’s not short, violent and restrictive; I let my hips move and let my body move and I use length to create the leverage I want. And so it takes a lot of pressure off.
“But as I do that, I have to change where the release is. So because it’s so long and so smooth, my hands kind of release through the ball. But if I speed it up, when I get down to the ball, the face will be open, so I have to kind of feel like I’m releasing the club a little. … It’s just a feeling that I create. So when I’m trying to hit one hard … I feel like from here [at the start of his downswing], I’m trying to release the club. Not really cast, but I’m trying to get that face square. I’m going to be swinging so fast that I don’t want to get down here and then have to …”
“And the face is way open and you release,” said announcer Troy Mullins, herself a Long Drive champion.
“Correct,” Mickelson said. “Like I say, it’s just a feeling of release rather than through the ball where I’m trying to create a little draw or a little fade on a normal swing.”
As noted at the start, it was one of several points from Mickelson. But Norman saw something more.
On the broadcast, he said Mickelson does it “brilliantly.” He said most amateurs don’t. Later, the two-time major winner and LIV Golf CEO shared a clip of it.
For clarity, here is the complete exchange, started by announcer Arlo White.
“Now there is a man who knows his own game very well. He knows everybody else’s game inside and out as well. Where do you see Phil’s game at the moment?”
“I actually was going to make a comment during that segment or right now,” Norman said. “He’s talking about the early release or hold the release or early release, but what Phil does brilliantly is what he does with his left hip. So for Phil to get there and release a little bit early, it’s what you do with the left hip, firing it toward the golf ball.
“One of the biggest faults of most amateurs, the left hip, or the right hip for right-handers, stops and and the arms keep going. Go back and watch that again. Watch his left hip and how level it is and how it’s firing at the golf ball. That allows him to get the club out in front of him, then he can do whatever he wants to do. An early release, hold it a little bit longer, whether he wants to hit a fade or a draw. So that to me was just jumping off the TV screen. That’s why he’s developed the power that he’s developed.”
Said analyst David Feherty: “He’s kind of a freak of nature, really, at 53.”
Asked White: Do you feel he’s got a big win left in him?
Said Norman: “Oh yeah, absolutely. Phil knows it, too. Phil, he’s enjoying his golf right now. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with Phil this week. He’s enjoying being out here. He’s had a good offseason. His life is in a good place.
“So yeah, I expect to see elevated things out of him.”
Editor’s note: To watch the complete video with Mickelson, please click here.