tiger on track

mulligan, 15 December 2004, Comments Off on tiger on track
Categories: Uncategorized

Tiger’s talking like he is about to make another run. Stevie Williams, his caddy, notices the bounce in Tiger’s step. And now, Tiger’s finally talking to the press about his swing changes, admiting that Hank Haney’s his coach. Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest has a candid and truly fascinating interview with Tiger. This is absolutely a must-read, the best golf article of 2005.

Here’s a snippet:

Later, in the first of three one-on-one interviews, Woods was more succinct. “Only two players have ever truly owned their swings: Moe Norman and Ben Hogan. I want to own mine. That’s where the satisfaction comes from.”

Woods might characterize his mission as business as usual, but the real answer to “Why Tiger Changed” can be found only in the details. And it starts with another question, the most asked in golf for more than a year: Why did Tiger leave Butch?

From the time the two began working together in 1993, Woods won three straight U.S. Amateur titles and eight majors. But before the PGA Championship in 2002, Woods told Harmon that during the tournament week he wanted to spend his time on the range alone. The two stayed in tenuous contact, but the last sustained sessions between them took place in Las Vegas the week before the 2003 U.S. Open.

The conventional wisdom is that Woods made a change primarily because of Harmon’s extroverted personality, which had begun to annoy Woods on the practice tee. But it has become clear that Woods above all believed there was nothing more of substance he could learn from Harmon as a teacher. * * *

Woods now has a relationship with Harmon that is cordial but chilly. “Butch and I are still friends,” he says. “As far as asking him for help with my golf swing–no.” Adds Harmon: “I honestly believe what Tiger did in 2004 is one of his biggest accomplishments. He hasn’t played well, but he’s still up there. That shows how great he is.” * * *

Although he managed to win five times in 2003, and miraculously in three of his first four events after returning from knee surgery, Woods felt the flaws in his technique catching up to him, saying now that he performed “with smoke and mirrors.” He was still getting stuck, and the fact that it persisted–along with his determination to get rid of it forever–was the biggest reason for Harmon’s exit.


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