Everyone has by now seen, I’m sure, the Instagram swing Tiger Woods posted on social media yesterday, and as most people have noticed, not much has changed for the better.
Albert Einstein has been quoted (and I say “has been” because it’s not really clear who first said this) as saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…”
I can see one thing that has changed, and that is TW’s back swing is a good deal shorter than it used to be – it’s interesting that the shot we saw is a down-the-line angle, which is useful, but I’d really like to see how much shoulder turn was in that swing, because it doesn’t like a full one.
Of course, that’s what I would also expect, but courtesy of jh32, let’s take a look at T-Dub’s Instagram post:
I don’t know why it was taken in 240 fps speed, but if you’re interested in a little faster sequence, here’s a gif. I whipped up showing it in 120 fps or about 4X slowed down, instead of 8X:
So, here’s what has changed – I see a little more hip turn in the back swing, as evidenced by the straightening of the right leg and the tiny space between the two knees just as he reaches the top.
Also changed – the shorter back swing, as I’ve already mentioned, but that’s because he’s protecting his lower back (four surgeries make you a little leery of twisting down there, I imagine), so he can only go back as far as the hip turn will let him.
Now, what hasn’t changed is that he’s still got the full plant with the leading foot on the back swing, which makes it about 2/3 to 3/4 of what a full pivot back, if he were letting that heel come up to allow the hips to keep turning past his top position, and the big head dip and “jump up” from the top to impact.
You can tell he’s fully planted because 1. You can see it and 2. That big head dip is indicative of the “harpoon drop” that many Modern Golf Swing practitioners have due to having to build up speed coming down, without the benefit of the natural leverage you get with a full hip turn and a simple transitioning of pressure to the leading foot (as fully discussed in the “E = MCS” video).
The head drop is severe – I mean, it’s a half-swing! – and ends at the “3 O’Clock” position, about where I have TW in the 3rd frame above, and if you’re sharp-eyed, you can see that his impact position in the 4th frame has a little higher head than the 3rd, so he’s still dipping and popping back up through impact.
Because it’s not a particular hard swing, I don’t see the above action causing any harm, but it’s not like TW’s going to be able to play on the PGA Tour swinging that easy, so he’s going to have to ramp things up, which is where the problems will begin – how to swing harder and faster with that planted heel, without twisting the lower back to get a fuller shoulder turn?
There is the part that will stump him, and either leave him hitting it very short, or going back to the poisoned well where I’m betting he goes.
Looking below, you’ll see that you can swing at 120+ mph impact speed and have no “harpoon drop” of the head on the transition from the top to the “3 O’Clock” position if you’ve created the natural leverage that comes with a full hip turn:
The secret to leveraging the golf swing, of course, is in using the hips and legs to pivot, and it’s something that Tiger apparently still hasn’t figured out, so I’m not hopeful he ever will.
He has one more chance, as I see it, because the next back injury after a spinal fusion process is likely to be catastrophic, and if not, surely the end of the road for competitive golf, at any rate.
So, looking at his top position below here:
I don’t know what in the world is so hard to fathom that if you let the leading heel separate at this point, you’ll get the full shoulder turn without any lower back twisting, and for a right-dominant swinger like TW, you would barely notice it, it would be so minimal – but it would be enough to allow a full pivot, as I have shown earlier in the year:
That little separation in my leading heel from the ground, folks, is the thing Tiger has broken his back trying to not do, and for the life of me, I don’t get this insistence on nailing the feet to the ground on the back swing, but being able to live with the flopping and flying leading foot at impact.
So, if this is how Tiger is currently swinging, I can predict one of two things:
- He’ll never make it back to competitive play or
- If he does come back, he will either pack it in quickly due to having lost so much power and distance or he’ll re-injure that back trying to recoup it by again twisting the lower back.
Let’s see how it goes.
But that clip didn’t inspire any confidence for me.
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