What I would do if I were Tiger’s instructor.

First, I wanna be an, “I told you so.”

For five years I have been telling people that Tiger’s swing is bad. Bad for his game, but more importantly, bad for his body. I predicted knee problems and neck problems. I don’t remember how specific I got about this on the blog, but I got two emails and one text basically saying, “you called it.”

Tiger has succeeded in spite of this swing, not because of it. I have been called out by friends and the anonymous alike with comments like…

“Tiger is smart and knows what he is doing and what is best for him.”

“How many majors have you won?”

I may not have close to Tiger’s resume, but mine is better than Hank Haney’s, so that comment is not relevant. I also think we can throw out the one about Tiger being smart as well. ­čśÇ

Anyway, back on topic. He calls it “the compression swing.” Obviously he is right, as it compressed his spine. I guess I have been fighting a “compression swing” myself for the last 10-15 years.

You cannot swing the club with that much force, change your spine position that much and not expect to get injured and hit bad shots.

Tiger’s head goes down during the takeaway, makes a significant drop to start the down swing, then forcefully pulls away from the ball to make room for him to release it.

Watch a slow mo and see his neck position just before impact with a driver he is going after.

YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He does these things on every swing, but the longer the club and the harder he swings, the more pronounced these movements are and the less consistent his ball flight becomes.

He needs to do a better job of maintaining his spine posiiton. Like any other student, I would start with the first problem, fix that and see where to progress from there.

He tries to get too much extension and increase the arc to start his backswing. That causes his hands to set late, forcing his arm swing to continue past where his shoulder turn ends and pulls his head down toward the ball. Just like with his other movements, it is more pronounced the longer the club gets.

Sometimes you can see him purposely setting his hands early in his practice swings on shorter clubs. That negates much of this affect.

It would take a novel to describe any more of the process, but this is where I would start.

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6 Comments

  1. David

    Spot on Monte ! The contrast between Tiger and Mahan’s super-efficient , clean and elegant swing in the first 2 rounds was extraordinary. It’s a kind of back-handed tribute to his talent and athleticism that he manages to get the balll round with that swing at all, let alone with respectable scores.

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  2. s.

    If Tiger’s problem is his head going down, the fix may not be trying to keep the head up. Haney tried that with Barkley. As a noted teacher figured out, the problem may be with, “What are you trying to do”?

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  3. Dean

    Is Monte playing the US Open qualifier at Bayonet today?

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  4. Steve Bishop

    I think part of it is the layoff he’s had and trying extra hard to get his swing back into shape. I know when I’m trying to get my game ready after a long layoff certain parts of my body don’t cooperate.

    You’re right about the odd angle.

    I would like to see him work on a better hip action than the one he needs currently to make his swing work. He needs the axis tilt of old but he needs to achieve it with less stress on his body.

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  5. mship99

    I think Steve is more on point with his first 3 sentences. I was just looking at a video of Tiger from last years presidents cup and this years masters and I have to assume that he was trying 2 different shots because of his releas but his body was just WAY out of sync…the difference really was amazing.

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