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Improve your driving with Pete Cowen and Europe's No.1 - and prepare for more of the same world-class teaching in 2010 as Gi increases in frequency to publish 8 times in Ryder Cup year...

Top photographer Steve Read had every reason to feel pleased with the portraits of Lee Westwood that accompanied our interview with Europe's now newly-crowned No. 1 for our cover story last issue (and which you can enjoy in full here). Under leaden skies, and with nothing more exotic than brick walls in a corner of Worksop Golf Club's nondescript car park to work with, Steve contrived to make Lee - dark suited and booted as had been requested - look a million dollars. How propitious was that?

During the interview, Lee - without a victory since 2007 - spoke of returning to a winning "habit". And there was a sense of urgency about him. "Luck has a lot to do with it [winning]," he told me. "Once you get on a roll, and the breaks go for you, it does become a habit. I definitely feel that once I get going again I'll win a lot more. I'm stronger and fitter than I used to be, which helps me to keep my focus over four rounds of a tournament and put in the hours on the practice tee when I have to. I'm more comfortable with my swing now than at any stage in my career."

Golf International January/February 2010 issue

A week after that meeting, Westwood tore apart Oceanico's Victoria Course to win the Portugal Masters and then - true to his word (and, apparently a few choice soundbites from his caddie, Billy Foster) - he produced one of his greatest rounds of golf ever to claim the Dubai World Championships and claim the lion's share of the bonus pool in winning the 'Race to Dubai'.

Not having enough time to shoot a swing sequence with Lee on that day in October, we rearranged for that to happen at Finca Cortesin a couple of weeks later, where Getty Images photographer Ross Kinnaird shot the action sequence you will enjoy from page 52, along with the fascinating in-depth analysis from Lee's coach - the 'pros pro' - Pete Cowen.

The feedback we get suggests that these high-speed sequences are extremely popular and we believe that this is one of the best yet, for the way in which the combination of images and insight from a top-teaching guru capture the essence of world-class motion and isolates the specific lessons that will help you to improve your own game.

"For me, Lee's performance was flawless in that final round. It was a pure master-class," says Cowen, who splits his time between teaching academies at the Emirates Golf Club, in Dubai and in Sheffield. "At his best, I'd say Lee is probably the finest driver of the ball in the game today - he hit every fairway and every green in that 64 - and the reason for this consistency is that at the core of his technique is his shoulder stability within the 'engine' of the swing, which is the body motion. For me, that's the single most valuable lesson readers of your magazine can take away from the swing analysis."

The power Lee generates in his backswing can be seen by the ripples in his shirt. "This is reminiscent of the Hogan model," says Pete Cowen. "And the lesson for every golfer out there is that the body core is the engine that drives the swing."

And the comparisons Pete makes between Lee and the great Ben Hogan are anything but fanciful. "What I really like about the position Lee achieves at the top of his swing is what I term this three-dimensional hip rotation - compare this with Hogan at the top of the backswing and you can see they clearly share the same dynamic," says Cowen. "There is a lot of talk in golf of moving 'off' the ball, or 'getting behind it', but you have to be careful here. Lee does not move laterally - the position you see here is achieved through the rotation of the hips and the upper body. There's a difference. A lot of people would regard this as a 'reverse-pivot', but it's not. It's a three-dimensional rotation against a stable right leg - this swing is 'loaded'."

Hard to argue with that.

Elsewhere you'll find this issue packed with plenty more instruction from players and coaches currently making the headlines, including Italy's Francesco Molinari, who pitched up at The Wisley Golf Club on a bracing November morning to shoot a feature with coach Denis Pugh and then promptly went out and won the World Cup with his brother, Eduardo. And our commitment to keeping you in touch with the top names in the game and the very best in golf writing and instruction is about to be cranked up a couple of notches, as Gi will be published eight times in 2010 - so that's two more reasons to subscribe!

'Cheating' and 'Tiger Woods' are words none of us ever hoped to read in the same sentence. Had the context in which the situation did occur in early December involved some incident on the golf course, the content of this issue would be sombre, to say the least, the career of the man rightly regarded as the greatest ever exponent of the game facing ruin, his achievements counting for nought and all conjecture as to whether or not he will overhaul Jack's major tally rendered meaningless. As it is, Tiger's 'transgressions' - as shocking and serious as they undoubtedly are - have nothing to do with his role as a golfer per se, but everything to do with his responsibility as a married man with a family, and beyond that as a role model for millions of youngsters. Now we do at last know that he's a real human being, let's hope he draws on the courage and determination that has defined his individual career to restore the trust of the loved ones around him. That will be the real making of him.

January 2010

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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