Stewart Cink: “My speed isn’t slowing down”

Stewart Cink was nearing 50 and beginning to notice that his drives didn’t carry the bunkers they used to. A decline in distance is often an unavoidable consequence of aging, but Cink wasn’t ready to accept his shorter tee shots. Long hours in the gym and a plethora of protein shakes weren’t necessary for him to reverse the trend, though. He was able to gain more than 10 yards – and win for the first time in more than a decade – by making adjustments to his technique and equipment.

Stewart Cink, statements

“I didn’t think that I was really slowing down physically,” he said. “In fact, my clubhead speed wasn’t slowing down. I just had gotten a little bit inefficient with my driving.”

Adjusting his setup – specifically, his ball position – allowed him to switch to a lower-lofted driver and unlock the power that he already had in his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame.

Just a few weeks after implementing these changes with his full-swing coach, Mike Lipnick, Cink won the Fortinet Championship in September 2020, his first win since the 2009 Open Championship.

“It gave me so much confidence … to be able to rip the cover off the ball,” he said after his win in Napa.

He leapt from 113th to 27th in driving distance, averaging 306.6 yards off the tee last season. He ranked ahead of big hitters like Tony Finau and Bubba Watson, as well as young studs like Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler.

Cink is playing this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions after also winning the RBC Heritage in April, his second victory of the 2021 season. At 48, he is the second-oldest player at Kapalua.

We’ll take a closer look at Cink’s swing changes in this edition of Inside My Swing, where PGA TOUR players share what they’re working on and how they keep their game performing at an elite level.

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