Tiger Woods: What Should the Troubled Golfer Have Been Working on Most for Doral
We all know that Tiger Woods is struggling with his game. It's been apparent since he started his season disappointingly at Torrey Pines. Many held out hope because of how he finished at the Chevron World Challenge.
Unfortunately, Tiger continued his play into the match-play event for Accenture. He was quickly ousted in the first round. Well, not quickly. It took 19 holes to determine this, but let's be honest, the hole was over once Tiger was in the desert (literally).
Many people thought Tiger would try to play through his struggles and play at the Honda Classic. However, he opted out of that, citing "existing commitments" preventing him. It was, in all fairness, the smartest move Tiger could have made.
So, in his free time, where should Tiger's neighbors have seen him practicing?
Let's be serious about this: Tiger's driving has never been good. But, in all fairness, when I saw his first round at Torrey Pines, I was encouraged.
He was swinging within himself, still smoking the ball while keeping it in the fairway. Unfortunately, Tiger didn't keep that tempo throughout the tournament.
First thing Tiger should have worked on?
Just finding a tempo. Not too hard an idea, but it is necessary. Of all his issues, however, I would rank this lowest. It's not like he absolutely sprayed the ball. He had his fair share of bad tee shots, but that was a result of his swing plane being upright and his tempo, like I said, just being too fast.
A massive issue for Tiger wasn't that he hit his irons terribly, but he wasn't positioning the ball in a place to make a putt. You can't expect to drain four 30-foot putts a round.
Like I said about his driver, Tiger was coming in steep to the ball, and it definitely hurt his accuracy.
I don't think tempo is the issue that Tiger needs to work on here.
Item two to address for Tiger:
Think less about the swing.
Simple as that. Tiger needs to think about where he wants the ball. Not about the mechanics. He should stick to a routine, look up, think a short thought like "fade it in" and just swing the golf club. Less concern over mechanics and more focus on the game is truly a key to Tiger's success.
Around the Green
This is a combination of short game and wedge play from afar. Like his irons, Tiger wasn't placing the ball in a reasonable circle to make a save or birdie.
His chipping seems to be a little different than it has been, but that could be because of neglecting it in favor of his swing. His pitching just wasn't getting the work done that Tiger has always gotten done.
Work point No. 3 for Tiger:
Spend two times the amount of minutes around the green than you do at the driving range.
Wedges are all about feeling out your shots and knowing where your "butter zone" is. This is especially big for layups. If you're going to lay up, hit it to a distance that you want to hit all the time. Without increasing his time around the green, Tiger's game won't be losing too many strokes.
The most important thing in a golfer's arsenal is the putter. Doesn't matter who you are—if you have 31 putts and 10 greens in regulation, you aren't going to shoot as well as 27 putts and 10 greens in regulation.
That is, unless your other eight greens hit make up four strokes.
I said before that Tiger can't hold himself to expect to drain 30-foot putts at will. However, that putt on 17, about six feet, should not be an iffy put for Tiger. He made it at 18, so there is not excuse at 17.
Even though I don't think that his putting issues are as rooted in his putting as they are ball placement, this is still the most important thing to consider.
Adjustment No. 4:
Spend 1.5 times as much time on the green as you do around it.
Just like chipping, putting is all about getting into routine, getting a feel, getting comfortable. It's natural to realize that more time on the green practicing putting will equal more confidence.
Of all of Tiger's game issues, this is the most important, physically. But let's be serious. There's one other place Tiger should have been before Doral.
With His Kids
Tiger has made it known that even though he doesn't share custody, he still loves Charlie and Sam. He wants to have them grow up knowing him as their father.
So, if Tiger wasn't with his kids this past week, I would hope he will be visiting them ASAP. Because to be honest, he deserves some time off.
Not only should Tiger have been with his kids, but he also should have taken his time and relaxed for a little bit. Nothing about sitting back and closing your eyes is going to hurt your golf game as long as you still adhere to practice schedule.
So here's to Tiger just relaxing on the course and getting back to Tiger Woods.
Final area to focus:
Relaxation and enjoying life. Hopefully Tiger was able to take off an afternoon or two to hang out with his two kids, if he had the opportunity. If he didn't, hopefully he used his free time to take a nap, watch TV and be a NORMAL guy.
Where do you think Tiger's focuses needs to be?