Gentleman Jim masters the loop
By T.J. TOMASI
Player of the year Jim Furyk won three tournaments this year, including the FedEx Tour Championship. Furyk was disqualified from the Barclays tournament, the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, when his alarm didn’t ring, but he woke up in time to win the final in Atlanta and its $10 million prize.
Of all the abnormalities in Furyk’s swing (unusual takeaway, unusual grip, etc.), perhaps the most outstanding is the slotting of the club at the start of the downswing. He appears to make a giant loop to the inside coming down, a motion that is necessary for consistently solid contact.
To do this, Furyk exaggerates his position at the top. Lee Trevino, who also used the loop, said that the more exaggerated the move is, the easier it is to feel and therefore repeat.
Note in the photos that Furyk arrives at the top with his back leg flexed, which keeps his “levels,” meaning that the hips turn level to the ground and his head stays as it was at address position — no bobbing up or down. Turning the hips on a level plane is a key component because it keeps the hip joints active, avoiding the locked-up condition that occurs when the back knee goes ram-rod straight.
In the first photo his hands are high atop over his right shoulder with his left arm at a steep angle, probably more than you should have at the top, but it’s certainly right for him.
Using the loop, the key is to get the club back on the plane angle for delivery at impact with the clubface and the back of his left hand matched in the “square clubface” position. This gives Furyk the best chance to hit a solid shot a very high percentage of the time.