BOB WEST ON GOLF — Swing adjustment helps Andrew Landry to strong start
Armed with a swing adjustment that worked well in his first tournament of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season last week in Las Vegas, a clear vision of where he fits into Bryson DeChambeau’s bombs-away impact on the game and a strong conviction of what he must do to deal with it, Andrew Landry relishes the busy schedule just ahead.
“I’m rested and ready to go,” he said, after his first competitive rounds since August 30. “I took three weeks off, spent some time at a lake house we bought, then got back to golf and started playing really well. I’ve been making a lot of birdies. Been putting it well.”
Landry putted well enough at the Shriners Championship over TPC Summerlin to shoot rounds of 64-68-67-72, finish T27 and pocket $47,950. It would have been much more but for a bizarre front nine on Sunday where quirky bounces and other weird stuff led to four bogeys. He got them all back by playing the final four holes four under.
“I was pleased with the way I finished,” he said. “I wanted to get it back to even par and I did. I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead.”
Counting this week’s CJ Cup at jaw dropping Shadow Creek outside Vegas, Landry will be playing in five of the next six tournaments, with the highlight being his second Masters in November. The only break will be two weeks hence when the tour drops anchor in Bermuda.
The PN-G ex is clearly upbeat about the swing change he started to implement at the BMW Championship the last week of August. It involved making more of a shoulder turn and taking the club back farther.
“For some odd reason in 2019 my swing got way shorter,” he explained. “I was not getting fully turned and it led to more and more misses. I was getting shut to open and hitting some undercuts. I was not happy with my play after the restart at Colonial in June.
“Lengthening the swing has made a significant difference. It’s helped me get more turned and be more consistent. I’ve been striking it really well.”
Meanwhile, Landry has watched the bulked-up DeChambeau turn the game upside down with his prodigious drives. After a T4 in the PGA Championship, the former SMU great overpowered Winged Foot to handily win the U.S. Open.
His drives at times fly 360 yards and more and roll out to near 400 yards. In the first round last week, he had five two-putt birdies. FIVE.
“What he’s doing is awesome,” Landry said. “It’s unfortunate for me, but that’s where the game is going. It’s all about distance. That’s the way young kids are going to be taught. You go to the range before a tournament and it is totally bombs away. It looks like you are at a long-drive championship instead of a PGA event.”
Landry said he saw DeChambeau’s emergence coming in the first very tournament back after COVID shut down the tour for three months.
“When I saw what he was doing at Colonial, I said he’s going to become the best player in the world. He was hitting the ball out of sight and was in 70 percent of the fairways on a tight course. He could be a guy who is going to dominate like Tiger did. He’s playing a different game.”
That doesn’t mean Landry is giving up the thought of still being a factor week-to-week, and winning more tournaments. It also doesn’t mean he’s going to bulk up and switch to a much longer driver.
“There is no question in my mind that I can still tournaments and have a solid career going forward,” he said. “But I have to be who I am. I think I have proven that when I’m on top of my game I’m pretty good. The worst thing I could do would be to start trying to overpower the ball.”
CHIP SHOTS: In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Jim Cady, Don MacNeil, Jeff Rinehart and Larry Foster won the front with minus 1. Minus 1 was also good enough to win the back for the foursome of James Vercher, Earl Richard, Bobby Kimball and James Trahan.
The Wednesday Babe Zaharias DogFight was played in an all-points-count format. Placing first with 29 points was the team of Joe Gongora, John House, Larry Lee and Clint Daigle. Second with 25 points was the team of Ron LaSalle, Richard, Art Turner and Richard Menchaca.
Closest to the pin winners were Ed Holley (No. 2), Keith Marshall (No. 7), Gongora (No. 12) and Dan Flood (No. 15).
Babe Zaharias will host a Callaway Golf Fitting event Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone who would like to sign up for a Tour Fit Experience should contact the Zaharias golf shop at 409 722-8286.
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