IMPROVE MY GAME
Jon Rahm is the Masters Champion. Here's a Look at How He Got There
Tue Apr 11, 2023 by TPI
In terms of professional tournament results, the 2023 Masters was particularly special for us at TPI. Not only is Jon Rahm a deserving champion, he's also a testament to the Body-Swing Connection and a TPI team approach, led by his coach and our co-founder, Dave Phillips.
We've posted many, many gigabytes of Rahm-related content on the internet over the years and thought it might be helpful to aggregate some of it here. It's by no means a comprehensive look at his development, but some highlights from our perspective.
We met Jon through the Spanish Golf Federation. They often bring promising talents to TPI for assessments and Jon caught our eye - and ear. Usually we can see a great golf talent, but sometimes we can hear it.
As Dave recounted in a Ryan Lavner story for Golf Channel this week, when Jon first came to TPI as a teenager his potential was apparent in the sound at impact. TOUR-level ball compression from the center of his clubface every time. An absolute flusher.
It was always clear that Jon had a ton of game, but after physically assessing him, Greg and Dave were concerned that if he didn't improve - or at least preserve - his mobility, it might limit his ability to express his talent.
From one of our first assessments with Jon Rahm roughly 10 years ago.— TPI (@MyTPI) April 10, 2023
Jon’s talent was immense, but we felt it was imperative for him to address key movement limitations to reach his potential.
🎥: Ricardo Relinque Giménez-Arnau pic.twitter.com/itdsYwUrIr
Jon was strong for his age, but he lacked mobility in several key areas, specifically his thoracic spine, cervical spine, hip and ankles.
Our screen only takes a few minutes to perform, but can save valuable time by increasing the effectiveness of the program we'd give him. It not only helped reveal opportunities for him to improve, it also highlighted priorities in his training. Athletes like Jon want to work, but they need help in knowing what to work on.
Because Jon was not especially mobile, it’s no surprise that he felt more comfortable taking a short backswing as a young golfer. Movement patterns are often developed around physical limitations, but just because he had some movement limitations doesn't mean that he couldn't play great golf. After all, our screen isn't meant to tell us whether or not a golfer can have an effective golf swing, it helps explain why their swing might look the way it does.
This video is a few years old, but Greg and Dave discuss how Jon's physical capabilities relate to his swing mechanics. We call this Body-Swing Connection and it's one of the core philosophies we teach in our online Level 1 Certification Course.
As Jon was rising up the amateur ranks, Tiger, Rory, Adam Scott and DJ were dominating on the PGA TOUR. It would've been tempting to try to lengthen Jon's backswing to look more like those stars', but Dave advised Jon to build his swing around what his body could do.
"I said to Jon, 'listen, a lot of people are going to try to change your swing. But don’t listen to them. I’ll teach you how to use it, and how to build it,' and that’s what we did.”
- Dave Phillips
That wasn't the approach every coach who Jon encountered, unfortunately.
Our foundational philosophy around the golf swing is that we believe there's more than one way to swing a club. In fact, there are an infinite number of swing styles, but the most efficient way for each player to swing is based on what they can physically do.
Jon articulates the Body-Swing Connection very well here:
.@JonRahmpga on the @NoLayingUp podcast discussing the importance of physical screening and building a swing around what your body can do.— TPI (@MyTPI) October 28, 2021
Full pod: https://t.co/WzoCdez5Zp pic.twitter.com/pApwcfju37
Since working with his team of Spencer Tatum (trainer), Dr. Jimmy Yuan (chiropractor - Scottsdale) and Dr. Harry Sese (chiropractor - TOUR), Jon has steadily improved in the gym.
In fact, in terms of movement quality and movement capacity, Jon is among the most impressive golfers in the world. His combination of strength, power and motor control is the ideal profile for a competitive golfer. Here are a few clips of his training with Spencer at Tatum Human Performance in Scottsdale.
One of the biggest differences in how amateurs and professionals prepare for a round is what they do before they ever pick up a club. Here’s a pre-round warmup that Jon and Spencer do.
He makes these moves look easy and though they are unweighted, they are awfully challenging.
Jon is an otherworldly talent and classy champion. We're fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride shotgun throughout some of his career - figuratively and literally.