Bubba and Brian Harman: A Tale of Two Lefties

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

It’s not always that you get two lefties coming down the stretch in a Tour event and finishing in the top 5, but Bubba Watson and Brian Harman did just that at Riviera. What is interesting is that while they stand up to the ball similarly, as soon as the body and club start moving the swings are, with a few other exceptions, quite different. Bubba is a unique combination of power player and shot making wizard, while Harman is less physically imposing and plays more of a control game out of necessity. While they both have their arms well in front of them at right arm parallel, Bubba has moved his there with a huge upper trunk movement, while Harman rolls the face open and rotates and lifts his arms to get things started and doesn’t have much trunk movement until almost halfway back. Both have fairly vertical left arms at the top, but Harman controls his backswing height by keeping his left arm a bit closer to his body. From the top both move the hands more toward their feet than toward the ball with the driver swing, while the irons are somewhere between the feet and the ball. This is not surprising considering the vertical nature of the right arm and the height of the left elbow. I recently saw a comparison between Bubba and Nicklaus that focused more on the trailing elbow similarities, but Bubba’s lead arm is almost 20 degrees more vertical than Nicklaus in his prime. Harmon’s uprightness is surprising considering he is only 5’7” and you would expect the swing to be more around him. A huge difference between Bubba and Harman is the rate of rotation of the lower body. Watson’s right knee disappears from view in the down the line view way before his right arm reaches parallel to the ground in the forward swing, while Harman’s legs don’t return to square until the shaft is almost even with the ground. Harmon’s left arm is pinned to his side coming into impact, but he makes a fairly amazing move to get it forward enough and around enough with his body to put a good strike on the ball. Bubba’s downswing is flawless, with great sequence, shaft control, and overall lower body movement. And I love the footwork. He’s a master craftsman, and if he wasn’t such a goof he’d have won way more so far. I expect him to mature eventually and become one of the greats.

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Clinton March 1, 2014

Harman’s takeaway looks like a waggle, so casual and un-athletic looking to me, very hands-dominant.

Buuba’s legwork is impressive as always in this video. Check out his calf muscle in his right leg at the 15:56 to 16:02 mark. You can see the definition in that calf despite the fact that he’s wearing pants. This is really nice clear evidence of just how hard he’s pushing off the ground with that lead leg. Amazing. It shows how power comes from both legs, not just the trailing leg.

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