PGA Tour Sean O'Hair Rotary Swing Tour

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Published: February 18, 2014

If you're looking for PGA Tour players who emulate the Rotary Swing Tour golf swing, few do it better than Tiger Woods and Sean O'Hair, both of whom are featured in this video.

When you slow their two golf swings down, it is amazing to see the similarities of the two golfers even though at speed they make look quite different. Both golfers do many great things in their golf swing, but you will also see a few things in here that can be improved upon that will make them better players.

I'm primarily focusing on Sean O'Hair in this video due to his recent '09 win at Quail Hollow where his strong back nine performance on Sunday earned him his third PGA Tour victory.

However, I also use him here to show where his swing causes him a few problems like it did at Bayhill this year where he lost in a battle down the stretch against Tiger. This video is taken from that Bayhill tournament.

In one of the down the line sequences I analyze, you can see where Sean's being slightly disconnected at the top with his right arm leaves him slightly out of sequence on the way down leading to blocks and hooks. You will clearly be able to see where his hips are more open at impact, pulling his shoulders open and leaving his arms just a fraction behind.

Tiger has slowed his lower body rotation down to give his arms a chance to keep up, but in his changes with Haney has moved to such an arms dominated movement that he often ends up with his shoulder closed at impact leading to big blocks and the occasional snap hook. If we could combine these two swings into one, you'd have a near perfect swing from an anatomical and mechanical perspective.

sean ohair

Checkpoints for Practice

  • Sean O'Hair swing analysis face on:
  • Pulling from the right, Sean gets a lot of shoulder turn and minimal hip rotation in Move 1
  • He shifts his weight and engages the lats to pull the arms back in front of his body
  • Sean gets up onto the balls of his feet - not great for control, but can provide power
  • At impact his hands are in front of his chest, spine angle maintained
  • Swing #2 from down the line:
  • Shaft gets steep in the backswing & right arm drifts away from the body, causing the hands to get stuck
  • His hips are very open and shoulders pointing slightly right, creating an in-to-out path & late release

Video Transcription: O'Hair Rotary Swing Tour

Transcriber's Note: Cuts off at end

Sean O'Hair - SetupSean O'Hair - Setup

It's been a while since I've done an analysis of a player's swing, so since Sean O'Hair just won the Quail Hollow championship I've decided to do some analysis on him and Tiger as well. I have some footage from when he almost won against Tiger at Bay Hill, just a month or so ago.

This will be very appropriate timing, because Sean O'Hair does a lot of great things in his golf swing. He's made a tremendous amount of improvements in his swing, and he's actually got room for more. I think this kid is a rising star. You're going to see a lot more of him in the future.

He's doing a lot of things that we've talked about in the Rotary Swing Tour, that you're going to be able to see in both him and Tiger; things that they do right, and things that they do wrong, that will be of interest.

First of all, I've just got him set up here with the driver, face on. This is not a great camera angle, but you can see a lot of the body movements, which is what we're primarily focused on here, as he takes the club back and away.

Sean O'Hair - TakeawaySean O'Hair - Takeaway

I'm going to go ahead and start scrolling through here. The first thing we're going to do is stop when the club is about parallel to the ground. Those of you who have attended the clinics know that we call this Move 1. It's basically just the takeaway.

During the takeaway, the primary mover, as we talked about, is that right shoulder blade moving down and in toward the spine so that we're moving around our spine. You can see that illustrated here, that he's actually made quite a big shoulder turn, even though the club is just parallel to the ground.

This is classic of somebody who's moving from the back, or moving from the right side and pulling, rather than pushing from the left.

When you see this, that left shoulder will tend to work down instead of up and across. That's what most amateurs do, is that instead of that left shoulder working down, the right shoulder moving up - technically it's not moving up, but it looks like it because of the angle of the spine at address - that is showing that they're moving from the right side. You can see that illustrated here perfectly in Sean's swing.

Shoulder turnLots of shoulder turn

The second thing I want to note as a part of Move 1 is that his hips have barely moved, if any; just a tiny amount of rotation, so he's starting to build some coil here, right off the ball. No funny manipulations with his hands or arms. He's clearly getting loaded into his right side here.

Now as we keep going back we'll see that, as he gets about to where the club is vertical and the left arm is about 9:00 or parallel to the ground, we'll see a tremendous amount of shoulder turn here. Again, it's just a very clear, evident move that he's pulling. He's almost made a full 90 degree shoulder turn here.

Again, I realize this camera angle is not ideal, but almost a 90 degree shoulder turn here, and the club is not even, maybe halfway back, and very little hip movement here. Nearly no hip movement, so again it's very clear that he's not just taking his whole body and letting it rip around. He's moving that right shoulder blade back and in.

Top of the swingTop of the swing

Sean is actually a great example of this, being a smaller guy. You can see him when he's making practice swings. You can actually see, when they catch him from the right angle, that right shoulder blade moving down and in towards his spine. He's a great example of somebody to look for who does this move really perfectly.

As we keep going to the top of his swing, again, tremendous amount of coil here. Very, very little hip turn, and we're going to start to see that right shoulder blade. Again, the video's not perfect here, but you can see he's clearly just pulled that right shoulder blade straight behind his head, or pulled his shoulder behind his head, made minimal hip turn here.

Now, when we get looking at down the line stuff, we'll talk about this arm position here at the top, because it's certainly something that will help him if he changes that a bit.

The first thing he's going to start to move down is setting into that left heel, just like the "Weight Transfer" video that was just posted. You can see that, again you'll see it perfectly in Sean's swing, setting into that left heel now.

Activating the latsActivating the lats

Those arms are pretty relaxed to start, and then once he starts to pull with that let oblique he's going to be able to really fire those arms as he gets there. You can see one of the big muscles, the primary movers in the downswing, is this left lat to pull the arms back out in front of the body. You can actually see Sean's left lat activating here. He's pushing down onto his left heel.

The one thing he does a little bit off here, he's getting a little bit onto the balls of his feet - actually, pretty extreme. You can see that he's actually moved onto the toe of his left foot. Of course this is no good for his knees here, but hopefully he'll change that as he continues to work on these changes.

Here he's pretty much up in the air, which you see in a lot of smaller guys who are more powerful swingers for their size, because they're using everything and kind of jumping up off the ground and getting everything to release.

As their body is moving one way, they can throw the club in the other as fast as they can. It's not necessarily the greatest thing for control, but Sean has done a great job here of taming everything and controlling it really well. He's got everything else with such good fundamentals that he can control it pretty well.

Finish of Move 3Finish of Move 3

You also see here - we talked about Move 1 earlier - this is the finish of Move 3. His hands are right in front of his chest, he's still maintained his spine angle.

Those of you that have attended the clinic, this is the position that we strive to get you in, where your belt buckle is basically facing the target, your chest is still roughly 45 degrees, depending on how much you rotate. We don't want to see it way whipped around, pointing left of the target here. The hands are in front of the chest.

This is textbook here; apart from the fact that he's up on his toes, everything else is excellent. He's got a tremendous release here. The club has been thrown out with a tremendous amount of speed, very steep shoulders here because he's maintained his spine angle while pulling out to the left, and then turning his hips back behind him.

This is going to keep his shoulders very relaxed. You can tell he hasn't pushed from the right side, because if he did that right shoulder would be very, very flat at this point, and it's very steep, very underneath his head.

Down the lineDown the line

All in all, a great golf swing with a little bit of room for improvement that you're going to continue to see as we look at it from down the line. We'll move on to down the line.

This is a great example of where Sean's flaws in his golf swing are going to start to cause him problems. This is number three, I believe, at Bay Hill. It's a little dogleg left, and I believe he hit it onto the bunker here.

You're going to be able to see what holds him back a little bit in his move, that's something that he needs to change. Again, it's not the best camera angle. I know that club looks way inside, but his feet are a little bit facing right of where the camera is looking here, so I'm not going to dive too deep into that just yet.

But he does start to get steep as we go halfway back. The shaft is getting very steep, and we've got a better angle I'm going to look at in just a minute, where you can see this. We're getting a little bit of cupping in that wrist, but the big thing here is, notice how far his right arm has drifted away from his body.

Right arm drifts outRight arm drifts out

This is something where, when you get your arms moving away from your body this much, you need to have a great deal of timing on the way down to bring them back out in front of the chest and sync everything back up. Of course Sean's a phenomenal talent, so he's got this ability but nobody has the ability to do it all the time.

One of the biggest changes he can make, apart from flattening out that plane, that we're going to look at in a minute when we pull Tiger up here, is staying more connected. That upper right bicep and upper right part of your pec or chest should never really disconnect.

There's no need for it, and that would tighten up his swing tremendously and keep him from getting a little late and stuck on the way down, that you're going to be able to see here. It actually creates this miss that he hit here. He actually hit this, kind of blocked it out to the right.

Because his arms were pretty steep and disconnected, one of the things that's kind of notable about Sean's swing is that it looks like his hands drop a long ways - and they do - because of the fact that he's trying to get reconnected and start getting those arms back in front of his body.

Because he rotates so fast, he simply doesn't have time to get his arms back out in front of his chest. In an ideal world, his hands would be here, where my mouse is, not here, but because he had that little extra lift in his golf swing at the top, and then had to drop to get everything back down, and because he's already started rotating, his hands are a little bit late. They're a little bit stuck back behind his body.

Hips open, shoulders point rightHips very open at impact, shoulders point right

What you're going to find is that he gets very open at impact. His hips are extremely open at this point, and he's got his shoulders pointing off a little bit to the right, rather than looking a little bit more square.

When this happens, you've simply got a path that's going to be a little bit in-to-out, and you've got to either release it a little bit, hitting a controlled draw...when things get really off and you go a little quick to flip it with your hands, you hook it left, or you just block it.

In an ideal world, he could fix this path a little bit by being a little bit more connected at the top, staying a little bit more connected going back, and then his arms would be a little bit more in front of his chest on the way down, he won't get so open, he won't be out of sync with his hips, and he'll hit straighter golf shots.

A good illustration of this, we'll look at the down the line view. They did a great sequence of Sean and Tiger at Bay Hill, so that you can see two very, very similar moves, but with some very distinct issues in each golf swing.

The first thing you're going to start to note is that Sean gets much steeper here. I talked about this. One, he's starting to cup that wrist, so now he's gotten his wrist cock and his cupping here that's going to steepen the shaft, so we can take a look at that.

Tiger's club - he swings on kind of a parallel plane, so it's going to be a little bit outside the ball, then Sean's is going to be well inside of it. Now you've got two very distinct planes here.

Swing planesTiger (left) and Sean (right) have very different swing planes

Notice here that Sean's right arm, his right elbow, is starting to point back behind him. That's showing that it's starting to move away from his body, whereas Tiger's is actually pointing more down and more in front of his chest still at this point.

You can see that elbow hasn't drifted outside of his shirt yet, so this is a huge difference very early in the golf swing, that's going to get Sean more disconnected as he goes back, and that's what you're going to start to see, where these misses start to come from.

Now, Tiger stays on plane a little bit better. Notice that right upper bicep and right chest are much more connected. Tiger's in an on plane position here. Sean's a little bit steeper. It's still pointing down the target line. It's not a horrible position, by any stretch of the imagination, but those high hands now have to drop.

You can see, if I just draw a line, I think they're probably similar in height, straight across. Sean might be a little bit taller, but you can see his hands are quite a bit higher than Tiger's. Tiger's have less room to fall, or less work to do to get back down in front of his body as he comes down. You'll be able to see that he's going to be in a little bit different position at impact.

Sean has rotated moreSean (right) has rotated more

They both make a great, aggressive move down. Sean's rotated here more than Tiger, and this is something that Tiger has changed in his golf swing. His hips used to be ripped wide open at this point as well, and now as he's focused more on swing plane and shaft plane, working with Hank Haney, he's developed a little bit more of an arms-y type golf swing.

Now he rotates his hips a lot slower in order to get things synced up for him. This is what he feels helps him keep more synced up.

Sean's just ripping his hips around, and you can see at this point his chest is already starting to look at that ball. Tiger's is facing a little bit more right; in other words, his shoulders are just a little more shut. This is going to allow him to come down a little bit more on top of the ball, rather than quite so underneath.

Now, as we keep going down and get right into impact, what you'll notice without all these lines, Sean's shoulders, again, are pointing more to the right. I'll try and back this up a couple of frames so you can see this a little better.


Just after impact, Tiger's left arm is still visible here, whereas Sean's has virtually disappeared. You can see his hips have clearly rotated a lot more than Tiger's. Again, this has to do with just starting out going back. By the time he gets to that halfway back position, that right elbow is starting to drift away from him and he gets a little steep. He gets a little lift-y at the top, and now his arms are late.

They just can't catch up with how fast his hips move on the downswing, so now what he's going to have happen is he's going to release that right arm late. Tiger's already really extended out his right arm here and really released it, and he's got the club working back to the left sooner, whereas Sean's arms are swinging out, away from his body a little bit more.

Now what's going to happen is, again, he's got to fight that in-to-out path here. You can see that at this point Tiger's hands are just about getting ready to disappear and Sean's hands are still releasing out, more or less in-to-out, and way out in front of him.

This is a little bit more of a timed, hands-y, flippy release, where his arms are working out more down the target line instead of around on an arc. Again, a lot of that has to do with two things. One, he's disconnected with his right arm, going back, and two he rotates his hips really, really aggressively, which is OK, but he doesn't need to be that open at impact.


At some point, nobody's flexible enough to keep their shoulders more or less square at impact and have their hips that far open. Typically, a 45-degree separation is about the max for even Tour players, so if he kept his arms a little bit more connected going back, he wouldn't have time to get his hips that far open.

Then if he just learned to calm that down just a tiny bit, and speed up that right arm just a touch, he would be in a much better position, that Tiger has here at impact.

Tiger tends to get to the extreme, where his shoulders end up a little shut at impact, when he gets off. He throws his arms a little bit too much, then at that point he's coming too far from the inside as well, for a different reason, then he ends up with blocks and hooks as well; both of them creating the same path.

Again, it all comes down to just getting things right going back will make things a lot easier to get right on the way down.

Expect big things from Sean O'Hair in the future. He's got a great golf swing and he's going to do a [cuts off]

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