The Golf Blog: Did Tiger Woods make one swing change too many?

mulligan, 13 March 2011, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: Did Tiger Woods make one swing change too many?
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The Golf Blog says: This week, Tiger Woods may have hit rock bottom. During the second round of the Cadillac Championship, Tiger snapped a duck hook on the second hole that went only about 100 yards. Then, on the 14th hole, Tiger skied his drive barely to the fairway.

Playing partner Graeme McDowell said it was hard not to giggle, but added that we’ve all hit bad shots like that. Yesterday, ex-coach Butch Harmon, Johnny Miller, and Dan Hicks all marveled at never seeing Tiger Woods hit as bad tee shots as that. Harmon added that, if Tiger doesn’t hit it well next week during the relaxed atmosphere of his home course during the inter-club championship at the Tavistock Cup, Tiger may be in some real trouble with his swing.

In the past, and not too long ago, we’ve stuck by Tiger Woods and predicted that he will still beat Jack’s record of 18 majors. Click here for the analysis.

But, after 7 months with new coach Sean Foley, Tiger Woods is still in the middle of what may be a massive swing overhaul. Foley himself said about Hank Haney’s instruction of Tiger: “There was nothing about what he was doing in his previous swing that made any sense to me.” That comment suggests that Foley won’t be building on Hank Haney’s instruction. Foley will likely be tearing down Haney’s instruction and will be rebuilding Tiger’s swing in Foley’s mold.

All of this raises a huge question: can Tiger Woods massively overhaul his swing another time? Nick Faldo, six-time major championship, did it only once, with David Leadbetter, to great success. Tiger Woods has already done it once, switching from Butch Harmon to Hank Haney–a move that many have questioned over the years. Johnny Miller has been one of the most vocal critics, advocating that Tiger Woods should try to go back to his old swing under Butch. Last year, we at The Golf Blog were recommending the same thing (click here for analysis), but now we think it’s too late for that. Phil Mickelson is Butch Harmon’s horse, and we all know that Tiger and Phil are like oil and water together–just look at this week!

It’s probably too late right now for Tiger Woods not to change his swing in some direction. He’s caught in transition trying to unlearn the Hank Haney project, as it were. So that explains the few hacker-like shots this week for Tiger. Tiger’s got to do something. But we wonder if learning a new swing philosophy is it? And is Sean Foley’s swing philosophy the way to go?

Although Jack Nicklaus recently defended Tiger by saying that he made swing changes all his life as he got older, that’s different. Jack’s swing changes were minor and were all within the same basic swing philosophy he had for his entire career. Jack didn’t change coaches, much less to ones who had huge differences in philosophies. Tiger’s doing that now. If anyone can master two massive swing overhauls, it’s Tiger. But there’s at least reason to question whether we should expect Tiger to ever be the world’s most dominant golfer again.


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