Johnny Miller: Learn Mark O'Meara's slice-busting loop
Early May is usually when I'm gearing up to call the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and enjoying the festivities at the annual World Golf Hall of Fame inductions. Not this year, however. Sure, I'm covering the tournament for NBC, but the Hall of Fame committee is taking a year off from the induction cycle to rethink their selection methods.
This is the right call, because they've overlooked a few people in recent years. As a member of the Hall and one of the people who votes on who gets admitted, I'm shocked Laura Davies's name hasn't been brought up, or Davis Love III's, or even Ian Woosnam's.
And what about A.W. Tillinghast, the designer who gave us Winged Foot, Newport C.C. and Beth-page Black, among other great courses? He should be a shoo-in.
If I had a vote this year, I'd go with Mark O'Meara. People forget how great he was. He won five times at Pebble Beach, bagged 34 titles worldwide, won the U.S. Amateur, and made like his buddy Tiger Woods by winning the Masters and British Open in the same year (1998). Oh, and he played on five Ryder Cup teams. If that doesn't get you in the Hall, then they shouldn't bother having one.
O'Meara has worked with Hank Haney since forever, so his swing has Haney's fingerprints all over it, especially the way Mark starts the club outside, then loops it back to the inside on the way down. It's the same move Haney worked on with Tiger. It may or may not have worked for Woods, depending on who you ask, but it sure worked for O'Meara. It's a great technique to try if you tend to slice. Banana balls happen when you approach the ball with an outside-in path. When you loop the club to the outside in your backswing, you're forced to come to the inside on the way down. Slice fixed! I'm surprised more weekend players don't try it. The only downfall: If you're not careful, you can block shots to the right. The trick is to make the loop going back, then on the way down make sure you rotate your hips to get the club traveling down the line through impact, instead of out to the right. Once you get the timing down, hitting straight shots—or even O'Meara-esque draws—is no sweat.