Here’s a video of Phil Mickelson from the 2013 Master’s in Augusta, GA. Phil struggled greatly this year, finishing 9 over par. Sparking comments from him such as “I just played terrible…….There’s no way around it. I’m just not hitting very good golf shots, missing it in bad spots and not really knowing which side I’m going to miss it on. So my play has been beyond terrible.” If you look closely there might be a reason for this.
Take a close look at this video from the tournament (ironically this was probably his best shot of the tournament). Pay close attention to his hips and belt buckle as he walks toward the green.
A normal gait for fully functions hips should show the belt should actually stay central. Looking at Phil, you can pretty clearly see he has dysfunction in his hips. Notice how the belt buckle shifts to the left with a right stride but stays central with a left stride. He has a hard time extending his left hip, leading to a rotation of his trunk when walk and function “normal.”
The hip is the primary source of energy during the golf swing and is closely related to the amount of force that you drive the ball with, therefore a dysfunctional hip will lead to ashorter distance and less accurate shot. A hip dysfunction can lead to a cascade of biomechanical compensations that can lead to a variety of injuries in the lower extremities and lower back as well as aggravating any upper body injuries. He has likely had this issue for some time which leads to a multitude of compensations that spin a web that can be very tough to break. Getting him properly adjusted is a huge step but he would have to put a lot of time in to retrain his body to return to what would be normal function for him.