Tiger Woods – His new golf swing
Tiger Woods has a new golf swing and a new golf coach. Will this be the missing ingredient that pushes him back to the top? I personally want Tiger Woods to regain his former form and his place as the best player in the world. Golf was more interesting when he was competing and winning. He was so good that you felt there was something special going to happen each time he set foot on the golf course. True great doesn’t happen that often, so to witness truly great performances is a rare gift. I liken it to being able to watch Picasso paint. Maybe you didn’t like his personality or other things about him, but you had to admire his gift and talent.
So is the missing ingredient Tiger’s swing? One element in the total makeup of a championship golfer is the swing. I have always said that “the golf swing is just a tool used to play golf”. The better the tool, i.e. the golf swing, the more potential the person has to be a great player. There are many elements that contribute to the success as a golfer. On the physical side there is appropriate body type, age, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, eye-hand dexterity, vision, and overall health. Mentally the top golfers are confident, imaginative, resilient, tenacious, single-minded, and goal oriented. What set Tiger apart from everyone else was his mental makeup. He had the whole package; physical shot-making superiority and mental toughness. He seemed to pull off shots that no one else saw or make putts when most failed. He was amazing in that he was in the hunt every week and won at a rate, almost 30%, which others couldn’t even dream about. For the last seven years Tiger hasn’t won a major. During that time, from 2008 to now, he won 18 times on the US PGA Tour, but no majors. Clearly he was good enough to win regular PGA events, but failed in the majors. Was it his golf swing? Or were there cracks in his mental makeup? My observations lead me to believe he was comfortable in the regular tournaments, but not the ones that meant the most to him. I find that is a change and a loss of his mental edge.
Now he has a new swing coach, Chris Como, and the results so far are mixed. We definitely do not have enough of a sample size. But from the one tournament results, I like the new swing. Tiger looked stronger and more athletic than last year. His swing was freer and more in sync. The swing has elements of his younger swing in the Butch Harmon era. We will see how his body holds up and if he can play a full schedule. One piece of his swing that I still don’t like is his finish, especially with the driver. He started his poor finish with the driver in the Hank Haney era. The out of sync finish was a result of Hank not getting him in a proper position on the backswing and downswing, because of that he couldn’t naturally swing around to a balanced finish. What I have seen so far suggests he is on the right track. I think the changes that he has made are still too new and he doesn’t fully trust them yet.What I believe Tiger wants in going to a new teacher and new swing is a search for confidence. All of his swings, from his early junior golf instructors, Harmon, Haney, and Foley, worked on some level, but he won consistently because of his mental strength and will to win. What comes first; great ball striking and then confidence, or confidence and then great ball striking? When you are used to hitting consistent quality shots and suddenly you aren’t, whether it is from illness, injury, or poor technique, your ego and confidence takes a hit. As a youth his father worked on his mental toughness. In his teens they employed Dr. Jay Brunza, a sports psychologist and retired Navy Captain, to continue this training. The result was a well-balanced, emotionally strong person totally equipped to play tournament golf. Since Tiger’s father died, I believe, he lost a bit of his foundation and compass. I think he needs to work equally as hard on his mental preparedness as much as his golf swing and overall golf game. I don’t think he sees it that way. I think he thinks he has the mental part. I don’t. However, if he truly believes and trusts the new swing, I can see the confidence kick right back in and we will again see the old Tiger. We will see