Hallelujah – Tiger Woods Finally Admits Modern Swing “Trashed My Knee”

You could say a couple of things here, like “Better Late Than Never,” or “Welcome To The Party Called Reality,” or perhaps, “File This Under Biggest Non-Surprise Of The Golf Half-Millenium,” but Tiger Woods has finally admitted that the way he swung for years was what “trashed” his knee.

Funny, because I have heard vehement denials of this over the years, with excuses ranging from “all the cross-country running” having trashed his knee, or “getting kicked in the knee playing Navy SEAL,” down to the last and most hilarious one I’ve heard, “falling off bikes and skateboards as a kid.”

My Reaction Each Time


And in case someone wants to say that Tiger was talking specifically about a period of 2000-2004 or so, when he was dominating the world and winning the Tiger Slam, let’s remember that his first knee surgery came in 1994 before he’d even turned 20 – so if he’s admitting that the swing trashed his knee… then it began a good while before he even turned pro.

And isn’t that even more tragic now, that Butch Harmon is expressing his doubts about the Modern Golf Swing?

andy plummer s&t


Shoulda-coulda-woulda, but I bet Butch won’t be offering any refunds on past instruction…

You’ll remember my chortling about the silly excuses proffered a while back, when I said that “Denial Ain’t Just A River” about this from Tiger:

Tiger Woods told Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz in 2005 that he has had a bad left knee since childhood. “It’s because of the stuff I did as a kid,” Woods said. “Wiping out on skateboards, crashing on dirt bikes, jumping off things. I banged it up pretty bad.”

Yeah, sure.

And what’s he saying now?

From the U.K.’s Express online:

Tiger Woods plays down impending comeback after TRASHING his knee

“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you go back to your 2000 swing?’ I can’t, because my knee is trashed from all those years of playing that way,” Woods said on a podcast with Geno Auriemma.

“I’ve had four operations on my knee. Forget when my back was bad, pre-surgeries and pre-back problems, people were saying the same thing. ‘Why don’t you go back to 2000?’

“I can’t do that anymore. I have to look for a different way.”

From Butch Harmon, his golf swing coach from high school on, he moved to Hank Haney, where he enjoyed a decent run, winning six majors and playing his most efficient winning percentage golf, but the disaster really unfolded when he went from Haney to Foley.


I have always said that Tiger’s transition from a right-biased swing in his youth to the ugly left-biased flailing model he now employs began with the search for a swing that let him still achieve a full shoulder turn with a wonky left knee and planted-heel back swing (see above how Tiger had to stay left in the back swing in recent years instead of being over the right side, due to the left knee instability), but he was relatively healthy under Haney.

Well… until his knee disintegrated in ’07-’08, that is…

So, what did Foley have to say when Tiger left Haney for his “Stack & Tilt By Another Name” swing?

In a Golf.com Q&A posted today, Foley was quoted as saying, “There was nothing about what he was doing in his previous swing that made any sense to me.

You know what doesn’t make sense to me, Mr. Foley?  How Tiger Woods could break his back trying to swing with your method, because… how do you go from a bum knee to a broken back swinging a 13 oz club?


And if you have any doubt that this was what did it, here’s a good place to read about all of the Foley students, former and present, with bad backs….

To be honest, it’s no mystery when you look at how TW was swinging, but at least we can put the myth of “my swing didn’t wreck my knee” to bed, because, in Tiger’s own words, “my knee is trashed from all those years of playing that way…”

I’m shocked.

But more frustrated, because how many people have continued to try to swing like Tiger and all the other Modern Golf Swing players, injuring themselves and sometimes causing permanent damage that will affect their quality of life as they age… when the beginning and the end of how you avoid injury is to swing the way the body is built to swing?

In other words… the Classic Golf Swing model?

It truly is tragic.

And you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting about his imminent return, because there’s not much to say – he hasn’t changed his modern swing, and whatever return he makes will be short-lived, either because he can’t keep up with an easier swing or because he injures his back again trying to keep up with the young guns – that’s my prediction.


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:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video

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13 thoughts on “Hallelujah – Tiger Woods Finally Admits Modern Swing “Trashed My Knee”

  1. john1brady

    Tiger needs to make it his mission to warn other golfers and kids who are growing up with this his dangerous modern swing.

    Possibly he is just NOT aware or does not (yet) understand how relatively low risk the “classic” swing style can be.

    Reply
    1. D Watts Post author

      Possibly he is just NOT aware or does not (yet) understand how relatively low risk the “classic” swing style can be.

      I have another possibility – admitting to being wrong or to having been wrong can be like pulling teeth for some people.

      I’ve been wrong before, I’ll be wrong again, so I’m never afraid to admit it when I am…and I certainly would call swinging in a way that destroyed my knee, then sticking with a swing coach for four years until I broke my back… things that I’d put in the “wrong” department, John!

      AND part of the problem that echoes your second musing (I agree) is that Modern Golf Swing philosophy has so thoroughly corrupted the instruction industry that many people know something is wrong with the way they’re swinging – but they can’t figure out how to fix it.

      So they keep cutting that 2×4…and it’s always still too short

      Reply
  2. targettom

    This comment of his is fascinating, because while he says he can’t swing “that way” anymore, given the videos we’ve seen he really hasn’t identified the mistakes he has been making (mainly the planted lead foot?). He still is swinging “that way” it seems. As for admitting his mistakes, not exactly his forte is it?

    When I started playing in mid 2015 I tried the planted lead foot concept and I had immediate negative feedback in my knees, ribs, back, neck etc.

    Then I looked at “Golf My Way” by a little-known pro named Jack something that I found in the discount bin, and saw that he lifted his lead heel; immediately I felt the motion was much freer and therefore more powerful. Why the pros don’t figure this out is beyond my understanding.

    re the trashed knee; I have a pic of Michelle Wie’s left knee mid swing, the torque on it is very painful looking. Proof positive it is an unnatural move:

    Reply
    1. D Watts Post author

      Then I looked at “Golf My Way” by a little-known pro named Jack something that I found in the discount bin…

      Best snark of the day, Tom – well done. And Michelle Wie is the female poster-child to go with the male (TW) when it comes to painful-looking knee torque…

      Reply
  3. jh32

    Just looking at her leg hurts. Left knee starting to point toward target, foot straight. That’s a grinding motion that will tear up either, or both the knee, ankle, or hip. Oh wait, didn’t she have tape on her knee and down her leg this year?

    Reply
  4. Mike Divot

    Wow. Maybe there is hope for Tiger yet.

    “My name is Eldrick Woods and I am an adherent of the modern golf swing.”

    That’s step 1 of 12.

    I am rooting for Tiger here. No one took any notice of calls to limit the ball until he spoke out.

    If he can not just denounce the modern golf swing …. but go just a little further … to embracing the classic golf swing … wow. Revolution in the air. (I think I’m dreaming.)

    Reply
    1. D Watts Post author

      If he can not just denounce the modern golf swing …. but go just a little further … to embracing the classic golf swing…

      That would be getting into miracle territory, MD. Not that it wouldn’t be earth-shaking – but if TW were going to try the Classic Golf Swing method… I imagine he would have done so by now.

      I mean, four back surgeries, the last one being a fusion, and still planting the heel?

      Not encouraging.

      Reply
  5. ron

    Yeah, uummm Michelle is still pretty trim … that’s not her legs. Someone 60 lbs heavier?
    Although her natural gift has been ruined as well. Sooo sad.

    Reply
    1. D Watts Post author

      I would be inclined to agree at first glance, Ron, but I think it’s merely a digital picture vertical compression artifact.

      I’ve seen this happen with Ben Hogan’s swing from a clip in one of his instructional videos, where the real Hogan looks normal and the second clip makes him seem much shorter and thicker…

      Reply

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