Donald goes back to his old swing coach
SHANGHAI — Luke Donald has gone back to his old swing coach with no regrets from having tried something new.
Donald had spent just over a year working with Chuck Cook when he decided a few months ago that it wasn't working. More than a search for more length, Donald was trying to get his shoulders more open to consistently have the club more square at impact.
Whatever he was searching for didn't work.
"After 13 months, I really hadn't gotten better," Donald said Tuesday at the HSBC Champions. "Either I physically couldn't do it or I just wasn't getting better. I was frustrated with the game the last three or four months. It was an amicable decision. I just thought it was time to do something different."
Donald said he measured how open his shoulders were at impact when he started working with Cook, and after 13 months there was no change.
But there was a change in his play.
Donald won the Dunlop Phoenix late last year. He also finished one shot behind at Hilton Head when Matt Kuchar holed a bunker shot. He had only three other top 10s, failed to get past the second playoff event in the FedEx Cup and did not make the Ryder Cup team for the first time since 2008.
A year ago, he was at No. 14 in the world going into the HSBC. This year he is at No. 36.
Donald returned to Pat Goss, his coach at Northwestern. He said Goss had to work more on the fundamentals of short game than ever. Donald suspects that was because the mechanics he worked on with Cook on the long game had invariably crept into his wedge play.
"It has not been much fun on the golf course the last three or four months," Donald said. "I haven't enjoyed it. I talked to Chuck and he was very open about what we wanted to do. He felt like his teaching was like keeping a Band-Aid on, and that's not the way he teaches. I was trying my hardest but wasn't able to do it. I had a choice to go back with Pat or try someone different. I had a lot of good years with Pat."
ON THE BAG: For the first time in nearly five years, the AT&T logo can be found on a golf bag on the PGA Tour.
It belongs to Jordan Spieth.
Spieth showed up at the HSBC Champions with a black-and-orange golf bag promoting AT&T. He signed an endorsement deal with the Texas-based telecommunications giant earlier this year, and this was the first evidence of the logo while he was on the golf course.
AT&T is one of the top supporters of the PGA Tour, with title sponsorship at Pebble Beach and the Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour, and a Champions Tour event in Texas.
The last player AT&T endorsed on the PGA Tour was Tiger Woods. He had an AT&T bag when he returned from knee surgery early in 2009. The company ended its endorsement deal a month after revelations that Woods had multiple extramarital affairs.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: That voluntarily leave by Dustin Johnson certainly isn't hurting his position in the world ranking.
Johnson was at No. 16 in the world after the Canadian Open when he announced he was stepping away from golf to seek professional help for "personal challenges." He is No. 15 in the world now.
Johnson will start losing points, starting with the HSBC Champions. He won a year ago Sheshan International and is not back to defend.
His agent at Hambric Sports, David Winkle, said Tuesday that Johnson is not expected back until sometime early next year. Johnson's fiance, Paulina Gretzky, is expecting their first child and Johnson won't play again until the baby is born.
"They haven't announced when the baby is due yet," Winkle said.