There has been some buzz of late that while Tiger Woods continues to rehab from his fourth and most serious back surgery (this one involving fusing vertebrae together in the lower region), he is currently without a swing model.
I might be so bold as to point out the problem that exists with Tiger trying to continue his golf career – and I pointed it out in a Twitter chat yesterday on this issue.
First, let’s take a look at the quote from Woods in a CNN online article from Rob Hodgetts:
“I’m feeling good, strong and doing really well,” Woods wrote in a lengthy blog on his official website.
… “I’m starting to hit the ball a little further — 60-yard shots. I have not taken a full swing since my back fusion surgery last April, but continue to chip and putt every day.”
… “Playing wise, I’m not looking ahead yet because I don’t know what kind of swing I’m going to use. I just don’t know what my body is going to allow me to do. Until I do, I’m going to listen to my doctors and continue to take it slowly.”
The sentiment (and a very valid one) was presented that not many people enjoy a successful return to golf after having back surgery:
Twitter Commenter KK: Only the Classic Swing offers longevity. If you enjoy a sore back, by all means, squat down, plant your feet and swing away!
DJ: Indeed! Not only that (hello TW), it’s never too late to change. If you can walk, you can still likely play golf with a Classic Swing action!
KK: I think if he starts viewing the Tee shot as placement only he has a chance but if he resumes chasing distance, his back will cry uncle!
DJ: I’m 47 with scoliosis & back pain but I drive well over 300y with no issues. TW gets a classic swing he can drive it as long as ever, I say!
KK: I’m hoping your (sic) right and the TW show resumes but I’ve never heard anything good from golfers that had back surgery and he had several?
DJ: Problem’s not the surgeries but the insistence on returning to the same harmful swing models the made surgery necessary. Go Classic Swing
And there it is, in a nutshell (and yes, Chief – I know that people who put things in nutshells become nuts) – it’s not the surgeries that are the problem – the problem is trying to return to the same planted-heel, twisting-lower-back swing model types that were the bane of his body to begin with.
TW has been accruing physical damage his entire golf career, and when he was young enough, he could swing in this manner due to youthful flexibility, but as he got older, he required more and more compensations to get a full shoulder turn with the leading heel planted and the hips restricted.
He went from this:
Notice how, before the first and fatal back surgery, TW had resorted to a left-biased address, with the left hip directly over the left foot at the back swing top, but still straining to get the big shoulder turn and head over the right knee via huge lower back twist.
So, the issue is not the surgeries – the issue is trying to return to a lower-back-twisting swing, especially with the fused vertebrae – this is serious business, and failure means not another surgery, but far worse.
So, perhaps TW should be looking a little harder for a proper swing action, because it doesn’t matter what he does for his rehab, it doesn’t matter what the doctors tell him regarding a timeline for a return to action, and it doesn’t matter what he thinks his body can or can’t do.
His body has already told him in no uncertain terms that the way he’s been swinging his entire life is not a recipe for longevity and, with all due respect to his fine doctors, his playing days are over (and if they aren’t, the expiration date is waiting around the corner for his next attempt) if he doesn’t build a mechanically-sound swing action.
That means leaving the Modern Golf Swing in the dumpster where it belongs – Woods has already shown that he can win with any swing model that he chooses, but his body will not take much more of the planted-heel and lower back twisting so…
So, the swing model is the Classic Swing action with the full and free hip turn (and no lower back twisting) that allows even myself, a 47 year old couch potato with a bad back, to generate ball speeds in the 180’s even without working out or daily swing sessions.
It’s not about Tiger Woods, it’s not about DJ Watts, it’s about the human body, physics and the swing action – and he needs a mechanically-correct one because his back has had it.
Perhaps Some Light Reading?
I know the two have never gotten along famously, but TW might try reading Brandel Chamblee’s “Anatomy of Greatness,” which details the differences between the modern and classic era swings, for a start. TW used to be known as a student of the game, so that’s the study material I would suggest.
If not that, then I don’t know what else to suggest, because I don’t know of any prominent professional golf instructors in the Butch Harmon/David Leadbetter/Sean Foley class who teach the Classic Golf Swing action.
Perhaps get that agent of his on the case. A return to successful golf would be big returns for his sponsors!
Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?
Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency?
Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?
If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing: