Pros advice

No regrets for Luke Donald as he goes back to old swing coach

Luke Donald has gone back to his old swing coach after failing to forge any solid relationships elsewhere, although he has no regrets about his initial decision to try something new.

Donald spent little over a year working with Chuck Cook when he made the decision a few months ago that it simply wasn’t working between them – prompting the relationship to mutually end.

It wasn’t a matter of Donald seeking more length, but rather he was hoping to get his shoulders more open to consistently have the club more square at impact. However, his search has proved fruitless, and now he returns to the man he left just over one year ago.

"After 13 months, I really hadn't gotten better," Donald said Tuesday at the HSBC Champions. "Either I physically couldn't do it or I just wasn't getting better. I was frustrated with the game the last three or four months. It was an amicable decision. I just thought it was time to do something different."

Donald explained that he measured how open his shoulders were at impact when he began working with Cook, but found after 13 months there was no change. However, there was some change in his play.

Donald was victorious at the Dunlop Phoenix late last year, while he also finished one shot behind at Hilton Head when Matt Kuchar holed a wonderful bunker shot. Three other top 10’s also came, though he failed to get past the second play-off event in the FedEx Cup and came up short during Ryder Cup selection, missing out on a place in the team for the first time since 2008.

A year ago, he was at No. 14 in the world going into the HSBC. This year he is at No. 36.

Far from having his tail between his legs, Donald happily returned to Pat Goss, his coach at Northwestern. He said Goss had to work more on the fundamentals of short game than ever before; Donald suspecting that was because the mechanics he worked on with Cook on the long game had invariably crept into his wedge play.

"It has not been much fun on the golf course the last three or four months," Donald said. "I haven't enjoyed it. I talked to Chuck and he was very open about what we wanted to do. He felt like his teaching was like keeping a Band-Aid on, and that's not the way he teaches. I was trying my hardest but wasn't able to do it. I had a choice to go back with Pat or try someone different. I had a lot of good years with Pat.

"I would have felt worse if I hadn't tried it," he said. "Not many guys have changed their swing pretty radically and been successful. Tiger showed it can be done, but it's very hard. There are countless examples of people who have tried and had it not work."