Why Tiger Woods Can’t Hit A Fairway

Simply, his swing is awful.

And I have reached a personal milestone in that I had nothing of interest to say about the run-up to this week where before, I would have written a couple of posts about TW.

It’s amusing in a way to see all of the pundits running to point out what they see as his swing flaws now when back in December, they said he was the Second Coming.

I just went back over what I had to say about his swing before the Hero World Challenge and during it, and it went something like this, with the relevant parts underlined:

I myself am impressed with (and more than a little alarmed by) his speed and power, if only because I can’t believe he’d be going after it so hard after all he’s been through.

But the swing he’s using to do so is problematic, and I’ll continue to say so

So, I can’t predict what will happen with Tiger Woods’ back – all I can do is point out what I see, and what I see is a golf swing that is still not mechanically-sound, and which carries with it a significant risk of injury, considering how strong and fast Woods is.

I’m not Nostradamus but I think anyone who knows anything about swing mechanics would have to say what I was saying back then.

I didn’t think his swing was anything to write home about back then, and I don’t today.

In fact, he’s regressed a bit back into old habits like the anchored trailing foot (I had noticed a little release and slide in December), and the old snapping leg and twisting foot are there as you can see in this swing gif. of a drive he hit this week:

But that fact that he’s regressed in that little area doesn’t explain how people who loved his swing 3 months ago are now trying to explain what’s wrong with it now.

It was bad then, mechanically-speaking, and it’s bad now.  Just look at that swing gif. when he’s coming through impact, and you’ll see that his leading foot is leaving the ground at that most crucial point.

People made a big deal about Justin Thomas’ flying foot, and I said way back when that it isn’t a power issue, it’s something you do to avoid blowing out your whole leading leg joint complex when you come through impact with that kind of speed and aren’t releasing that trailing foot.

The problem is, it requires timing and when you’re young like Justin Thomas, you can get away with it at times and shoot 59, or you can be blowing the ball miles offline like JT did in the same event he shot his 59.

I also saw it the first two days at the Genesis – I couldn’t believe how far left Thomas hit some of his drives and approaches.

Tiger is 42 years old, not 24, and you’re not going to set the world on fire with a swing that relies heavily on balance and timing.  He’s far too old to get away with it.

And before I forget, you tell me how a guy can swing at the speeds TW is going after the ball, with a head that is motion all over the map from the start of the back swing to impact, and expect any kind of accuracy or consistency:

Yes, I know – he won 14 majors with a big head dip, but the last one was at age 32, and it took him 3 years with Sean Foley to even win an event again after he left Hank Haney... so settle in for a good wait if you think he’s going to start winning again.

He made the cut on the number the first official event back and missed it by miles the second.

The fact that Tiger Woods can’t hit a fairway to save his life is due to that swing of his, and nothing anyone suggests is going to help him if he continues to triple-jump through his “3 To 9” phase.

Below, his leading foot hits 3 different positions in 3 consequence frames:

So, he can put in all the “reps” he wants, and he may have some good weeks when things go well and he can time everything, but with that kind of action through the ball at his age… not something that should encourage anyone.

And as I say all the time when making quasi-predictions – I could be wrong and it wouldn’t be the first time, but indications are that TW’s swing is a hot mess and will continue to be without changes.

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


12 thoughts on “Why Tiger Woods Can’t Hit A Fairway

  1. targettom

    The other day Brandel was suggesting that the reason for the head dive on the downswing was because T was too centered at address, “so his head has to move down in order to stay behind the ball”.

    He said to fix it he just needs to move his head a few inches to the right. He didn’t actually say he needed more side tilt, and he didn’t mention the planted lead foot IIRC. He does have a couple articles published where he says he could fix his swing “in two minutes”, perhaps there’s more detail in there.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Yeah, well… TW had that head dip at the Hero Challenge last year when Brandel was raving about his swing and TW’s address was… centered. In fact, he looked even more left than center:

      So, perhaps Brandel is hedging his original glowing praise – I know it lifted my eyebrows at the time…

      That head dip by the way is because of a lack of leverage at the top due to the restricted hip back swing. Hence the harpoon move to generate the speed that natural leverage would have accomplished.

  2. Mike Divot

    Here is a picture of Tiger the other day, taken by someone on golfwrx.

    Does this look like the head of a non-diver?

    Does this look like the swing of someone protecting his back?

    1. D Watts Post author

      I’m pretty sure, as Tom says below, that that is DJ, MD – very much his follow-through and I can see the Nike logo on his cap whereas TW has the TW logo on his cap:

      Definitely DJ. Your point however is valid. He’s swinging way too hard with that back-twisty modern model and who knows how long the back will hold up. I said before it took him years to damage his back to the point of needing surgery, so he might retire due to not being competitive before he injures his back again if at all. Not like he’s got unlimited time left. Healthy, I’d say a couple more seasons before he packs it in.

  3. targettom

    “Here is a picture of Tiger the other day, taken by someone on golfwrx. Does this look like the head of a non-diver? Does this look like the swing of someone protecting his back?”
    Looks like Dustin Johnson to me. He was paired with Bubba and Adam Scott

  4. Mike Divot

    You are right. No Tiger. I got all mixed up.
    However in that same thread there are pics of the actual Tiger with his hips frozen on the backswing.
    This one: right out of the modern swing textbook.

    1. Chief Cowpie

      A tiger for all of its renown ferocity and esteemed as “King of the Jungle” or savannah, in actuality on average is able to capture prey once a month and therefore eat once a month. Tiger in his current trajectory of making the cut once a month is therefore more tiger than he has been in his prime.

      That Tiger was more tiger than cheetah comment refers to a tiger having great deal of head movement when running compared to a cheetah which keeps its head still or as DJ described, “a floating head” which is considered a principle asset in the cheeetah being able to obtain 75 mph land speed.

    2. D Watts Post author

      No hip turn to speak of, squatting over the ball… I’ll stand by having called it “awful.”

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