Why talented young players regress, according to a top Tour coach

Cameron McCormick has become one of the most recognizable coaches in the game, in large part because of his long relationship with Jordan Spieth, who he’s worked with since Spieth was 12 years old.

In addition to Spieth, McCormick has helped guide more than a dozen other PGA and LPGA Tour players, as well as many soon-to-be stars in the junior ranks. Unfortunately, not every talented young player sees their potential realized as an adult.

On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, McCormick expounded on a range of topics, among them why some skilled young players seem to lose their footing in college and beyond.

Jordan Spieth smiles
How Jordan Spieth shook off his nearly four-year winless slump
By: Jessica Marksbury

“College, and the opportunity it presents, the positives, right? But there’s a dark side to it. There’s a cost,” McCormick said. “And that cost is exposure to things that, when you’re living potentially at home with your family, you’re not exposed to. Or maybe you’re exposed to, but you’re not quite given the liberties that independence provides you in college.”

The pressure to maintain the required academic standard, to be social, and still play golf at a high level can result in being less mentally acute, said McCormick.

“There’s a workload in college, and there’s an opportunity for distraction in college, because of the independence that you have, that can negatively influence your ascent in this skill area of golf,” McCormick said.

The key to remaining unaffected by the traps college can present? Proper guidance and mentorship, said McCormick. And that can come from both a childhood instructor like McCormick and Harmon, or the college coach too.

“The best advice I can give any kid or any parent looking to avoid making those mistakes, which they all should be, is consult with someone that’s helped someone travel that journey,” McCormick said.

For more from McCormick, including how Jordan Spieth mangaged to emerge from a nearly four-year winless slump, and the most striking part of Spieth’s game, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.