Tiger Woods: 15 Things He Needs To Do in Order To Right the Ship
Tiger Woods is far from the dominant force he once was in late 1990s and early 2000s.
However, he’s been on the decline since his personal problems became public and his injury troubles kicked in.
He’s lost his No. 1 ranking, and is in danger of falling short of a record—Jack Nicklaus’ 18 career majors—that appeared well within his reach.
Here are 15 things Woods will need to do in order to get back on the right track.
15. Don't Panic
One thing that Tiger Woods will need not to do is panic.
He’s still relatively young at age 35, and will likely have at least another decade of trying to break Jack Nicklaus’ record.
As a result, there is no rush for Tiger to alter his entire game in the blink of an eye.
Patience might be something that Woods displays to right the ship.
14. Overlook Golf's Youth Movement
In golf today, the younger class seems to be stepping into the forefront as the contenders for majors while some of the older players are considered washed up.
Jason Daye, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler have highlighted golf’s youth movement, and are expected to continue their early career success.
Tiger Woods shouldn’t be scared of this youth movement, as he’s likely one of the major reasons most of these young guys pursued golf in the first place.
The name “Tiger Woods” is still intimidating, and will carry more weight once he gets his game back together.
13. Fewer Risky Shots
Tiger Woods can no longer rely on overpowering the golf course.
Instead of muscling up and trying to swing out of his shoes, it will be a finesse-type approach that gets Woods back into major contention.
He has to take fewer chances early in rounds and save his risky shots for when he desperately needs them.
Aggressiveness has been a mainstay in Tiger’s game since his career started, but it looks like a more controlled attack will get Tiger back where he belongs.
12. Use Caution with Driver
Tiger Woods needs to be careful with his use of his driver.
Golf is such a mental game. Visualizing what you want to do and actually doing it are two different things.
All it takes is a poor tee shot to start Tiger off on the wrong foot. Sometimes, his shot can be so bad that he is unable to save the hole.
Errant starts can result in errant finishes, so Tiger must remain in control.
11. Keep Media Interaction to Minimum
The media is always trying to find out everything about everyone. Such is the nature of the business, but the media are rendered useless if an athlete is conveniently unavailable.
Tiger Woods should keep his interaction with the media at a minimum as he’s preparing for upcoming events.
Every question he fields is about his health, his scandal or chasing Jack Nicklaus, so he can alleviate much of the pressure on him if he worries about his game rather than filling headlines.
He’ll be able to relax once he wins his next major, and then will gladly be inundated with the media.
10. Get Healthy
If Tiger Woods plan on making a run at Jack Nicklaus’ record, he will have to be fully healthy.
Earlier in his career, Woods was known for his vigorous workout programs that many of today’s younger golfers have emulated.
However, Tiger should focus on exercises that improve the health of his knee and Achilles' heel rather than pushing himself to the limit.
It’s been hypothesized that Tiger’s intense workouts throughout the years could have led to his current injury problems.
Either way, a sustained approach to getting fully healthy will benefit Woods.
9. Trust His Swing
Tiger Woods needs to trust his swing.
He has a very powerful yet controlled swing that yields some of the best shots, but also some of the most erratic shots.
Woods is known for being overly critical of himself, and sometimes makes a change just to say he changed something.
He has a tendency to tweak his swing when things aren’t going his way. If he can avoid this tendency, he’ll develop the consistency that carried him during his period of dominance.
8. Make Some Putts
What happened to the Tiger Woods who used to always drain the clutch putt?
Part of Woods’ recent struggles has involved his inability to make easy putts.
Even after he makes an ace shot, a two or three putt washes away his nice approach.
Tiger wears his emotions on his sleeve, so everyone knows when he’s unhappy with his performance, especially when it comes to putting.
To get back on the right track, Woods will have put bad putts behind him and not think so much. If he doesn’t let his misses get the best of him, he’ll begin to find the bottom of the cup on his first try more often.
7. Alter Overall Game
Though it should be a gradual process, Tiger Woods needs to alter his overall game.
As News Oklahoma’s Sam Donnellon states, Woods needs to rely on smarter club selection and a more precise placement of shots as way to overcome his health problems.
Tiger’s physical strength may have taken a hit, but that doesn’t mean his golf skills should suffer as well.
6. Get as Much Practice as Possible
Though he is still recovering from injury, Tiger Woods will have to iron out his game on the actual golf course.
He plans on playing in the U.S. Open, so he will likely try to get as much course time as possible without overdoing it.
Larry Dorman of the New York Times suggests that “less could be more” for Tiger. Dorman cites former golf great Ben Hogan as a player who toned down his training after dealing with an injury. Hogan was in a terrible car accident in 1949.
If Tiger buys into the “less is more” theory, he may preserve himself for another decade of competitive golf.
5. Forget About Clouded Past
Tiger Woods will undoubtedly be followed by the ghosts of his infidelity for the rest of his life.
However, if he can put his clouded past behind him, he will begin the process of regaining his dominance.
While he undoubtedly lost many fans, there are other fans out there that will rally behind him if he shows he’s back to his winning ways.
If he can endure through his off the course problems, his game will improve.
4. Lose Negative Attitude
Tiger Woods is the epitome of a perfectionist, but to get back to business, he has to lose the negative attitude.
Though he’s always been an emotional player, he has to avoid letting his emotions get the best of him, like his memorable missed put at this year’s Masters.
As a result, Tiger turned one bad hole into another and another, and before long he was out of contention.
If the other players see Tiger visually beating himself up, they will take a chance in trying to bury him.
Tiger needs to have a short-term memory in dealing with his poor shots.
3. Regain Confidence
Tiger Woods needs to have confidence in his abilities to bring his game back to its customary level.
He needs to remember who he is: He’s Tiger Woods—arguably the greatest golfer/athlete in sports history.
Naturally, there was a ton of hard work along the way, but it was his confidence that allowed him to bury his opponents.
Other golfers still must worry when Tiger’s name is on the leader board, despite his injury and personal problems.
2. Win a Major Soon
To prove that he’s back in the saddle, Tiger Woods must win a major within the next two years.
Though this isn’t imperative, it would show that Woods is back after a brief hiatus.
This would be a huge chip off his shoulders. Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
A major victory in the near future would put the focus back on Tiger’s golf game rather than his recent struggles.
1. Strong Showing in U.S. Open
The U.S. Open will be played June 16-19 in Bethesda, MD.
Tiger Woods needs to have a good showing in this tournament. He doesn’t have to win it, but he needs to show that he is healthy and ready to compete over the second half of the year.
This will not only be a confidence boost for him, but will also show the young guys that they have to watch out for the game’s greatest, despite what the rankings may say.
Slow but steady steps will the key for Tiger in his possible return to greatness.