Tiger Woods: Breaking Down His Game
No, this isn't another Tiger Woods article. Tiger will be the first of many PGA Tour golfers whose games will be broken down.
What I am going to do in this article is go through each part of Tiger's game: driving, ball striking, chipping and putting. Each slide will not grade Woods' game, rather provide insight into what exactly he is doing, and what he is doing promotes. Also included will be a little insight as to what Woods could do different.
Tiger is the first, because everyone is wondering about Tiger's swing, what's so different, why does he want to do this, and where is Foley getting these ideas from. Well, here's the answer to all those questions.
Let's be honest here: Tiger Woods has never driven the ball well. He's always been mediocre off the tee. There are a few simple reasons to this.
First off, Woods' tempo with his driver is awful. He seems to have this belief that swinging five miles per hour faster is going to make him go five yards further. But those five yards do not help if you're flying the ball into the rough.
Woods has shortened his swing with Sean Foley; however, Foley maintained that they found no change in swing speed when he did this. The mere fact that they considered it this heavily is absurd. Tiger's swing speed is about 120 miles per hour with his driver. Loss of speed is not a worry.
The other thing Woods seems to do is manipulate the club face. This is most likely a product of his Hank Haney teaching, because that is when you could really see the club face twisting around. In the video above, if you stop it at the top of his swing, you'll notice that his club face is a little shut. That's either because he's playing a shut face for more distance, or trying to draw this specific shot.
With any professional golfer, the driver is normally the most erratic club in their bag. If Tiger can focus on just being around average (70th) in driving accuracy, I would say he's fine. He's never been a Jim Furyk, and he's done fine with it. However, groove changes have made it a little more difficult for Tiger.
Obviously a swing change is relatively consistent across the board. However, with Tiger, I think his tempo with everything but his driver is considerably better. Could it be better? Yes. But is he also one of the better iron players in the game? For sure.
If you think about challenging that, then consider all the variables Tiger has to deal with on a consistent basis, especially one: lie. Like I said on the last slide, Tiger's never been accurate off the tee, so to expect him to be on the green every time is ludicrous. With the new groove changes, Tiger's challenge has become ever more difficult.
Now, onto the swing above. While many may say that his swing looks upright, if you look at a lot of the best ball strikers in the game (i.e. Sergio Garcia), their swings tend to be more upright. Why?
Because the general consensus is it is easier to control a fade than a draw. With a draw, your release and hand position are a lot more important, because it's the difference between a draw and a hook. With a fade, it's a lot more controlled regardless of the mistake made.
Ask Kenny Perry, however, and he would disagree. He only knows how to hit a draw, and it was in the Ryder Cup I believe where Perry attempted to draw the ball over water where the rest of the players could fade it. Needless to say, Perry didn't get around enough, and the ball landed in the hazard.
I don't have that much negative to say about his iron play, except that he really does need a little better tempo. As for that last 10 seconds of the video, notice how Tiger's club is really "pinching" on the ball. That trapping of the ball is one of the keys to keeping your clubs on a consistent flight, with distance.
This is definitely an issue. Many people are wondering if it's the swing that Tiger is struggling with that is causing his performance. But, if you look at it, when Tiger went through his swing changes, his short game remained.
Now, Woods appears to have allowed Sean Foley to comment on his game. Why this happened is beyond me. No offense to Foley, but let's be serious: Tiger Woods had the most clutch short game in golf for the majority of his career.
I think it's just getting comfortable if he is going to change his short game with Foley. If I were Tiger, I'd go with the game that got me there, but I don't have 14 majors.
Everyone knows it's in deplorable shape. Tiger Woods can not putt the way he used to. Many say that Woods is destined for failure because putting doesn't come back.
I don't know how much it counts, but my putting has come back from when I was one of the best on my high school team. If Tiger is human, as many people assert, he could very well have a comeback similar to any other human's.
But, to break it down, Woods just doesn't look confident over the ball. I see more hesitation and less trust in the stroke. It's another thing Foley got his hands on according to reports, and another thing I will not understand. There's a difference between a swing change and a game overhaul, and when it comes to short game, it's become an overhaul that is yet to come to fruition.
In order to keep it interesting, please leave comments for me so I know who you want to see. Otherwise, it's going to be my choices.