Perhaps I’m dating myself, but that’s what I was watching today when I tuned into the Hero World Challenge to see how Tiger Woods’ swing looked.
Still very restricted lower body on the pivot, still squatting into the transition (as I’ve said one will often do to try to build leverage & momentum that is not there because of the restricted hip back swing, compared to the leverage you get from the top when you freely move the hips), and a very big leading foot jump through impact.
So basically, the same way he’s been swinging for some time, except that his tempo seemed super-fast (especially the back swing) and now that he’s feeling pain-free from the spinal fusion, he’s able to put more zip into it – for now…
So, he’s attacking the ball the way he did before the back problems appeared in late 2013 (first surgery was in early ’14 but the damage was done the previous season), and he’ll likely get away with it for a while.
I wasn’t watching to see how he’d putt (O.K.) or chip (badly) or score (so-so on a course he’s played a million times), I just wanted to see how he swung.
While everyone is excited about his drives and swing speed – remember, he was among the longest and fastest in the game when he was tearing up his knee, and now he’s swinging hard again with that left-biased address:
The angle is not face-on, but anyone can see that this is definitely not a right-biased address, and of course he can’t address the ball right-biased if he’s still planting the leading heel because of his left knee instability.
It seems he’s determined to be a big bomber again, and that heaving, flailing action might be producing decent speed (I saw one of his drives clocked at 180 mph ball speed, which is in the high end), but remember that he didn’t break his back overnight – he did it at 39 years of age after four years of swinging this way with Sean Foley.
Of course, every drive that found the fairway was declared a perfect swing, and of course, there was a little flaw found by the analysts when he blew one so far right he hit a provisional, and here are the “perfect” and the “flawed” swings side-by-side:
If you don’t see a difference, that’s because they’re virtually identical. But since the left swing found the fairway, it was “perfect,” with all sorts of glowing praise, and because the right swing went sideways, there were all sorts of problems with it.
The clip from which I got these swings didn’t have the slo-mo face-on shot that re-played on the right miss, but the “3 To 9” phase was… not good…
I was hoping to have something positive to say about the swing, but it’s the same old thing – a tweak here, or there, but the same restricted hips, violent change of direction, dipping head and jumping foot.
In fact, a couple of drives, he seems to be completely off the ground with both feet.
Don’t Believe Me?
I would say that the way he was going after the ball today was not the way a 42 year old guy with spinal fusion surgery 7 months in the rear-view mirror should be doing it.
So if that’s how he’s going to swing going forward…
Don’t get too comfortable watching him play.
I could be wrong of course…
Time will tell, but there’s my two cents.
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: