The Big Play: How to split the fairway like Steve Sticker

Steve-stricker-big-play Who: Steve Stricker What: 268-yard drive into the fairway Where: 475-yard par 4 18th hole at Riviera When: Final round of the Northern Trust Open
Johnny Miller is the best TV analyst in the game, but he’s not always correct. One of Miller’s biggest mistakes has been his analysis during the last few years of Steve Stricker’s rejuvenated driving game. Miller has said on multiple occasions that Stricker went from being one of the Tour’s worst drivers (190th in accuracy in 2003) to one of the best (22nd in 2010) because Stricker reduced his wrist cock in his backswing to less than 90 degrees.
According to Miller, this reduced wrist-cock gives Stricker less movement of the club and his body, which makes it easier for him to control his swing.  Miller’s reasoning is accurate, but the problem is that Stricker cocks his wrists to at least 90 degrees on full-power swings with the driver.

Sticker learned to control his driver and hit more fairways by quieting down his body, especially in the backswing. He learned to keep his upper body still and rotate back and through around his spine, instead of the excess body motions that used to throw him off balance. Stricker actually sets the club beautifully, and his full wrist-cock gives him the angle a player needs to generate not only power but also accuracy.
Stricker demonstrated his driving prowess with the Northern Trust title on the line. Holding to a two-shot lead at 18, Stricker piped a drive down the left side of the fairway that set up a ho-hum par to clinch the victory.

How You Can Do It:Here’s a drill that will teach you to cock your wrists at least 90 degrees in the backswing. Stick an extra-long tee in the butt end of your driver grip and address a ball. Then start your backswing. When your front arm is parallel to the turf in your backswing, the tee should point directly down at the target line. If it does, then your wrists are correctly cocked at 90-degrees.Take a closer look at Steve Stricker's swing

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher T.J. Tomasi teaches at the PGA Learning Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.(Photo: Chris Condon/Getty Images)

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