What Has Happened to Tiger Woods?

When arguably the greatest player to ever swing a golf club has a plummet as large as the one Tiger Woods is currently on, a lot of questions get raised. Being a golf instructor I often get asked “What is wrong with Tiger’s swing?”, “Can he ever comeback?”, “How would you fix it?” First, I’d like to say that I believe he is on the correct path to regaining his stature in the game. Since Tiger parted ways with Hank Haney and began working with Sean Foley and now with Chris Como, he has been able to get the golf club in a more neutral or “on plane”   position at the top of the golf swing. 

Unfortunately, this is where the correct path becomes derailed in my opinion. Since the 2006 season, Tiger has developed a pattern of dropping his hands in a “straight down” direction during the transition phase of the golf swing. This was a product of Haney’s teaching philosophy and this pattern has been a primary reason for Tiger’s poor driving accuracy. When the hands drop straight down in the transition period of the golf swing, it retards the body from opening as well as causing the right arm to become stuck behind the body. The result is a golf club that is being delivered to the golf ball from a position that is too far from the inside or “trapped”. When this occurs your ability to hit the ball straight is extremely compromised as your release become reliant on timing. This is where the “foul balls” come from.  This point is illustrated by the images below from the 2009 Presidents Cup during the Haney Period. 

Tiger needs to get the golf club out in front of his body so that his release can be in a more neutral position; this position will cause the release to not be as reliant on hand action to square the face. He can achieve this is by getting the butt end of the golf club traveling towards the golf ball in the transition period of the golf swing. From the beginning of Tigers professional career up until the year 2005 he employed a downswing path where the club would travel in front of his body. This approached made him the most dominate player in the games history, allowing him to hit the golf ball prodigious distances while being deadly accurate. Ben Hogan described the golf swing as a side arm throwing motion; this concept allows the golf club to approach the golf ball from the ideal hitting position. These photos below are of Tiger from the year 2000; these images illustrate the path he used to play with. 

In my professional opinion, Tiger needs to study these images of Hogan. This man is considered the greatest striker of the golf ball in this game’s history. Hogan’s hand path in the transition came out directly toward the golf ball, this allowed his body to open as well as get the right arm and club in front of his body. This concept will allow Tiger to regain his dominance on the tour.

 I have heard that Tiger and his new coach, Chris Como, have looked at old tapes of Tiger’s swing and are trying to rekindle that magic. I am just not so sure that they are looking at the right things.  Hopefully they find the correct path, because this game is better when we have a healthy Tiger Woods playing at his best.