It tickles me to hear the TV announcers gush about Matsuyama’s “great tempo”. The young Japanese star, winner of the Memorial Tournament, is about as unconventional when it comes to rhythm and tempo as you will ever see. Matsuyama’s rhythm is 5:1, which in a world where the vast majority of players use a 3:1 rhythm is like slow motion in the backswing. Not only that, Matsuyama has no “catch” at the top of his swing, preferring to come to almost a complete stop before driving with the hips. It’s not surprising that he is regarded as having great tempo because amongst the masses of golf watchers most consider “slow” to be “good” when it comes to swinging a golf club. If you watch the LPGA you see a ton of swings like Matsuyama’s. I have always thought that since the courses are so short and distance is not such a factor, many women, especially the Asians, have come to prefer a very deliberate, controlled, some might say “mechanical” backswing, and then are able to produce between 230-240 yards of carry with the driver, which on the women’s tour is enough to play any of the courses they compete on. Men don’t usually swing that way because it is not an efficient way to produce power. Matsuyama is an exception to that rule, and he produces plenty of power even while stopping at the top. His secret is to keep a constant movement in the lower body, loading downward even as the club is stopping at the top, then thrusting forward and left to catch the left arm and start the forward swing in good sequence. This is not a recommended technique, as it is incredibly hard to time that transition consistently. That said, Matsuyama’s positions are spot on, which makes sense, at least in the backswing, because it’s almost like a stop-and-go drill. You’d like to think that you could make a decent swing if you give yourself time to go back as slow as you want and then stop at the top. Matsuyama does that and then knocks the crap out of it. I find it annoying that announcers who pummel certain players for being too “mechanical” don’t comment negatively on Matsuyama’s swing. What could be more “mechanical” than what he’s doing?