By Paul Myers
Hunter Mahan is a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that might fly a little bit under the radar. While he is highly accomplished in the world of professional golf, and extremely talented, he is yet to take home a major championship trophy which could quickly increase his notoriety on a world stage. Unfortunately for Mahan, one of his biggest moments in golf to this point was not a positive one – he lost a match to Graeme McDowell on the 17th hole at Celtic Manor in 2010 which sealed the cup for the European side. Mahan has done plenty of positive things in his pro career, but that one moment is remembered by many golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic.
Takes Advantage of Swing Speed
Considering the fact that he is one of the top American players, Mahan lands surprising low on the list of swing speeds for the 2014 PGA Tour season. With a swing speed of 112.22 MPH, Mahan is ranked 103rd on the Tour for the year. However, he does a great job of maximizing the distance that he gets out of that speed, as he ranks T45 on the Tour in driving distance with a 295.8 average.
Impressive Swing Mechanics
This could be interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it shows the quality of the impact position that Mahan is reaching swing after swing. If he weren’t in a decent impact position, and wasn’t hitting the ball on the center of the clubface more often than not, he wouldn’t be able to get as much power out of his drives as he does. Also, it demonstrates the importance that having the right equipment can have when translating swing speed to yards off the tee. Mahan passes more than 50 spots on the rankings between his swing speed and his driving distance, suggesting that he perhaps has done a better job of optimizing his equipment and launch conditions to get the most from his swing.
Interesting Ryder Cup Future
Whatever the case, Mahan has a golf swing that many consider to be picture perfect and has allowed him to win on Tour and remain consistently one of the top American players. How that translates to the 2014 Ryder Cup will be interesting to watch, considering his aforementioned experience with the event. One lost match in a big spot doesn’t mean that Mahan will never come through for the U.S. in the Ryder Cup, but that experience may still be on his mind as he returns to Europe for another try. It would seem likely that some success early in the week would be very helpful in putting to bed those old memories and making room for new ones.
Hunter Mahan may be exactly the kind of player that the U.S. will need to perform well in order to take back the Ryder Cup from Europe. The team has experience in players like Mickelson and Furyk, but it will require a group golf effort to defeat a deep and talented European side. With a solid effort from Mahan, along with good performances from even younger players like Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the U.S. could have a chance to pull off the upset and take back the trophy.
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