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Swing Analysis: John Daly

It is length that defines John Daly, be it the length he hits the golf ball or the length of his swing, which is about as long a swing that has ever won a major championship. Daly exhibits massive talent every time he hits the ball, not so much for his prodigious drives but for the wedge shots he hits with the club fully 2 feet past parallel. There are players who have long swings with the driver, notable pre-war Hogan, Snead, and Mickelson, but all these players dialed down the irons measurably for control. Not Daly: he just keeps cranking it back and busting it, showing that he has about the best pair of hands in the business. How else to explain his success when you look at the combination of sheer length in the backswing with start down that has the club passing through his neck. Everything at the start of the downswing yells “steep”, and then by the time he gets to the ball it’s not steep at all. Check out the driver off the diet coke can for a clear example of his surgeon like ability to control the attack angle of the club.
Certainly this is not a technique I would teach, but since Daly was successful with it at a young age it wouldn’t be something to un-teach either. He is self-made and knows how to put the face on the ball at high speed, and it is our place to see how in the world he does it. Looking at the video I just marvel at the high level of “education” of his hands, as he leans the shaft back on his extremely triggered right index finger and drives his hands and arms left through impact. Not many people have done this as well as Daly, who has won 2 majors but has struggled with his consistency over the years (not helped, of course, by his predilection to drink excessively, make bad decisions, and get in trouble almost constantly). I would say that he has proven his swing can work, but that over time it has also proven to be hard to manage.


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