16 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |
Sinnott finds solace in tough times
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
It stalled his return to tournament golf yet Todd Sinnott’s coach Denis McDade believes the COVID-19 interruption played a part in getting his charge back to the international stage.
Sinnott will make his major championship debut in the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline starting tonight, Sinnott to tee it up in his first professional event in the US at 4.31am AEST alongside Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and American Bo Hoag.
Sinnott views it as the start of a chapter in his career that he hopes will be based predominantly in the US yet it also marks the culmination of a comeback that once threatened the now 30-year-old’s future in the game.
Under the guidance of Martin Joyce, Sinnott thrust his name into Australian golf’s consciousness with breakout performances as an amateur in 2014, leading both the Australian Open and Australian Masters at different stages of each tournament.
Two years after turning professional he won the 2017 Myanmar Open on the Asian Tour but stress fractures in his back would render him unable to swing a golf club for a full year.
He and McDade began working together and slowly rebuilt a swing and practice regimen that Sinnott’s back could complete pain-free.
Just as he was ready to dip his toes back into the water of professional golf COVID struck and his hiatus was extended, ultimately spending 669 days between professional tournaments from March 2019 until January 2021.
“He spent a lot of time literally out of the game, not able to play and certainly not able to play tournament golf,” McDade explains.
“COVID probably delayed Todd’s return to tournament golf just a little but it also gave him the opportunity to fully rehabilitate from his injury, make some of the changes in his mechanics that we wanted to make and to get back in touch with how to play the game. COVID actually gave him some time to get back into playing.”
Key in Sinnott’s recovery was a move away from pounding thousands of balls on the range to more concentrated work on the golf course.
His back can’t sustain the workload it did prior to the injury but again McDade sees an unintended benefit from the way in which Sinnott now practises.
“Todd, by his own admission at that time, liked to hit a lot of golf balls. And I mean a lot of golf balls,” says McDade, who with Marc Leishman has two of the seven Aussies teeing it up at the US Open.
“We really started to modify the number of balls that he hit and because he had such a small volume of balls that he was allowed to hit initially we thought, Why don’t we get that volume out on the golf course and actually play holes.
“Rather than spending hours on the range with the limited number of reps that he was allowed, we did those on course so that he could start getting back to playing again and getting a bit of confidence in what he was doing.
“Spending more time out on the golf course playing holes as opposed to on the range striking balls and working on mechanics has actually been good for him.
“He’s quite a visual/reactive kind of guy. He’ll see a ball flight and react to that and that in some respects dictates his set-up, alignment and swing.
“He’s probably a little more in touch with that given he’s spending less time on the range and more time on the course.”
It was an emotional victory when Sinnott triumphed at the TPS Victoria at Rosebud Country Club in February and he has continued to build consistency in his return to the Asian Tour, logging four top-20 finishes in his six starts to date.
He played his way into the US Open by finishing third at Final Qualifying in Japan and is now ready to embrace everything a major championship will throw at him.
“This is obviously the goal, to play in the biggest events against the best players so it’s where I want to be playing and what I want to be doing,” Sinnott said on the Fox Sports US Open Preview show.
“I’m just trying to treat it like a normal week and go there and play as well as I possibly can.
“I fought pretty hard to get back to where my game is good and actually being able to play because for a year there I couldn’t even swing a golf club.
“I’m really looking forward to playing a US Open and testing myself against the course, see what it’s all about. It seems like an old-school course and hopefully it’s really hard.”
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