Wyndham Clark's Performance Coach Julie Elion Turned Him Into A Major Winner - But Who Is She?

Wyndham Clark was a surprise winner of the 2023 US Open, a turnaround inspired by his work with Performance Coach Julie Elion

Wyndham Clark holding the US Open trophy following his 2023 victory
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the 2023 US Open began at Los Angeles Country Club, few could have predicted the winning moments.

After all, it was the unheralded Wyndham Clark, a 120-1 outsider heading into the week, who held off the challenge of Rory McIlroy to claim his first Major championship and announce himself to the wider golfing world. 

Clark had won for the first time on Tour earlier in 2023 at the Wells Fargo Championship but his best finish at a Major prior to that week was a tie for 75th in the 2021 PGA Championship.

Even the American was surprised after the win. "I wouldn't have thought I'd be a Major champion six, seven months ago," he later said.

So, what changed? Well, thanks to the second series of Netflix's Full Swing, viewers can gain an insight into Clark's work with psychologist and performance coach Julie Elion, a partnership that has evidently worked wonders for the 30-year-old.

During episode three, which focuses heavily on his journey of recovery since losing his mother in 2013, Clark said: "I had trained my mind over years of belittling myself and thinking negatively, locking myself in rooms and not coming out for a long time or drinking to excess or being mean to people. I didn’t want to play golf."

His work with Elion, though, helped to break that cycle. Speaking after his US Open win, he said: "She has a great calmness and presence about her that just makes me calm and relaxed.

"I was a little reluctant to do it, and I'm just so glad that she was brought into my life, and what these honestly six months, it's crazy to see how much I've improved and how much she's helped me."

Wyndham Clark hits his tee shot in the Ryder Cup

Clark made his Ryder Cup debut later in the year

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The link-up was inspired by caddie John Ellis, who describes the events that led him to reach out to Elion in a scene in Full Swing.

"When you get in that pattern of negativity and 'I stink, I suck, I’ll never make a cut again' - all the things that I heard - it’s hard to climb out of it," Ellis said of Clark's mindset. 

"We had a little heart to heart, I was like ’buddy you’re on the verge of not being on the PGA Tour or on the verge of being a star' you have to make a change because you can’t keep doing this to yourself."

Elion, meanwhile, is well-known amongst professional golfers. The American is the founder of CAPE Performance, a performance coaching practice since 1997 that has worked with several high-profile golfers, such as Phil Mickelson, as well as athletes in the NBA, NFL and MLB.

In total, Elion's clients have gone on to win more than 150 PGA Tour wins and 25 Major Championships during her 25-year career but, speaking in Full Swing, she names Clark as one of her most rewarding clients.

Phil Mickelson (L) waits on a tee with caddie Jim Mackay, and advisors Butch Harmon and Julie Elion during final practice round prior to the start of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral Golf Resort And Spa on March 7, 2012

The American won the 2024 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Wyndham was extremely resistant to working with me at the beginning. He was struggling with anger towards himself, the loss and the grief of not having the career he wanted," she explained in Full Swing.

"I really do stress that this is harder than golf. This is digging deep and really looking at yourself, and it’s a lot of work. But he started to feel better about himself, and then that transferred to him playing better golf.

"The Wells Fargo win was so healing for him. That lifted years and years of pain. Before my eyes, I saw him transform into someone who truly believed, and what he held in his mind was manifesting right in front of him.

"Seeing Wyndham connect the dots, I felt like I was in the presence of something magnificent. He just got to see how amazing he was and if he applied himself he could make his dream come true."

Which golfers does Julie Elion work with?

Elion has an esteemed list of clients, noting on her website that she has worked with half of the top 10 earners of all time, representing over $500m in career earnings.

Notable former clients include Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman as well as former Major champions Jimmy Walker and Gary Woodland

As well as her work with Clark, Elion also currently works with fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Max Homa

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.