Chris Wood is one of the tallest players on tour and now the new BMW PGA champion can aim for the game’s highest peaks according to his coaching team.
PGA pros Mike Walker (Pete Cowen Golf Academy) and Paul Mitchell (Bristol & Clifton Golf Club) have been among those paying tribute to the 6ft 6¼in. right hander who scooped the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.
Wood’s third tour win has seen him climb to 22nd in the World Rankings and also boost his hopes of making Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team.
The win came on the first anniversary of Yorkshire-based Walker’s appointment as his swing coach during which he has worked hard to fine-tune a fade for the straight-hitting Bristolian.
“He feels he swings best when he swings left to right because it takes one side of the course out of play and we’ve been very focused on that,” said Walker, who is out at the Nordea Masters in Sweden with some of his stable including Thomas Bjorn and Matt Fitzpatrick.
“Chris had made steady progress up to that point without making any headlines but his ranking had climbed massively and this is the icing on the cake. This is a great boost for him. He’s known as being a good guy but genuinely is a great bloke and this makes the win even more special.
“Chris has always believed in himself but the belief needs bolstering with reality and if he did have any doubts they should be blown away by what he achieved at Wentworth.”
Also celebrating Wood’s win was Mitchell, a PGA Fellow Professional, and his long term mentor and now performance coach.
“It’s massive for him,” said Mitchell. “I always said this guy is a multiple major winner and hopefully this will also put him in good stead for the Ryder Cup. It will be great for his confidence, he’s been working on all the right things and this is a sign of things to come.
“He’s been scratching around and had a lot of injuries but he’s got a great team behind him and he’s a top five player and he’s really starting to blossom. I always said he would be world number one – but it’s not that easy is it!”
Mitchell spends hours poring of Wood’s tournament stats to come up with a practice programme.
“He’ll come back and we’ll spend half a day working on aspects we’ve identified, preparing for the coming season.
“We’re currently working on pitching because it’s not as good as it was. On average he’s five or six yards further away than he was 18 months ago. He was always a brilliant pitcher so he’s realised it’s gotten worse so we are working on that.”
Mitchell and the Bristol & Clifton greenkeeper have also toughened up its practice green to prepare Wood for the US Open challenge at Oakmont, Pennsylvania on June 8.
“We’ve shaved the practice green down and grown the rough up so it’s nice and thick and he’ll practice lots of chipping from the rough on to green which is up to 12 on the stimp,” added Mitchell.