So How’s That “Swinging Left” Going For Tiger?

I am not psychic, and I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been correct in my life, but when it comes to the golf swing, I did call Tiger Woods’ swing technique with Sean Foley a “back-breaker,” and I was correct on that, at least.

Something else I’ve been saying about TW’s swing since his return is that A) it is still not a mechanically-sound pivot and he is playing with fire after the fusion surgery and B) His whole “swinging left” thing is going to keep him from ever driving the ball well for extended periods.

It just goes against the laws of physics to be swinging on plane, which means your club is coming down from the top behind you (vs coming over the top) and from the right, and you’re trying to make the club go hard left through impact.

So, with that type of swinging motion, you will always be risking a big pull or even pull-hook to the left, or you’ll come out of it at the last instant coming down (due to that fear) and blow it right.

And what are TW’s misses with the driver?

Big left pulls and pull-hooks and big blowouts to the right, and really, everything in between.

And What’s With The Lean To The Left???

Part of that is having a vertical spine in your stance, and I don’t know why he’s leaning so far left to hit driver – that looks like his old Sean Foley stance, and that isn’t good for the back, if you’re going to try to hit the ball with a positive AoA, let me tell you.

I’ve said that before… but right now I’m dealing with the “swinging left” syndrome.

This isn’t rocket science – any time you have the club path going left at impact, you’re risking losing the ball left – so the fact that TW’s “Big Miss” that drove him crazy (re: Hank Haney’s book) was a miss left… why is he “swinging left” and then being surprised that most of his misses are LEFT?!?

He may have left Sean Foley, but looking at his current setup and his continuing to swing left, it seems Sean Foley is still living in his head:

Just a thought when you watch him play this week.

The only shot you can pull off consistently with a club path going left through impact is a fade, and as I can tell you, having been a steep-planed swinger for years before I got rid of it – you can fade it, or you can yank it left, or you can slice it off the planet, because all of it depends on what your club face is doing at impact.

And when there’s big trouble left, you have no good options.  You can risk a fade, starting the ball left and double-crossing yourself if the face closes, or you can try to draw the ball, in which case you risk double-crossing yourself with a closed face and a left club path, or you can just say “to hell with it” and blow it right.

Any of this sound familiar?

I’m no genius, but I can figure out that swinging left intentionally when you’re prone to missing it left…doesn’t compute.

You know who likely started the whole “swinging left” thing?

How about Ben Hogan, who had what I call a “perfect pivot” with his hip & leg action, but who had as one of his anti-hooking compensations, a “swing left” motion through the ball?

The problem for anyone else doing this is that Hogan

  • weakened his grip,
  • tweaked his clubs to be open-face two degrees,
  • hit a stock fade with this move and
  • hit balls all day, every day, to keep this move working the way it did.

He also did it to avoid the screaming hook that kept him from staying on Tour the first years of his career.

So, unless you’re going to weaken your grip, tweak your club faces, hit a stock fade and hit balls all day, every day, to keep this move from breaking down, it’s not going to work for you.

There was only one Ben Hogan.

I’ll therefore keep talking about the “swinging left” move of TW’s as long as he’s doing it and missing big both ways, and that’s just with the driver.

There will be days he keeps it all together and hits a lot of fairways, but with the modern driver and ball that he uses, no one should be losing the ball as far off line as he does off the tee.

Take a look at that big harpoon dive with the head as he starts down as well.

I’m not saying he’ll never win an event again, because TW is the best scrambler in the history of the game, and he never stops grinding… but he’s making it so much harder than it has to be.

Feel free to use this posting as an Open Thread for Masters Friday, friends!  I’ll be watching golf today since we’re expecting snow…

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



18 thoughts on “So How’s That “Swinging Left” Going For Tiger?

  1. buddhabob

    its frightening how much mediocre golf I’ve been watching at the Masters. At first I thought it was all the manufactured pressure of guys trying to win the Big One, etc. But I just keep seeing multi millionaires in trees, in bunkers, blindly missing open greens with short and medium irons, – and all of this on a day that is perfect weather wise with very little wind and relatively damp fairways conducive to accuracy and control.

    Gary Player who was maybe 5’6 1/2″ at best and played with persimmon woods and an old balata ball, won here at the Masters several times and was always a threat. Many of his approaches were with 3 irons, 5 irons, fairway woods. These guys today are missing greens with wedges or rolling them out 45 ft. from the hole. I don’t get it. I am thinking they don’t practice mid irons at all.

    I frankly think modern equipment has absolutely ruined this game. It would be so,so much more interesting with the old ball, and smaller club faces. An early separation between men and boys would occur immediately and virtually all the players would be forced back into swinging the Golden Era free swing that would then be the only way to generate enough power to stay out over 250.

    The days of trying to crank a driver would disappear. You would be punished for swinging weak and stupid like so many of these hacks. The Luke Donalds would go back to selling insurance and all the crappy teachers would get flushed out and sidelined finally.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said above, BB.

      I also think modern equipment has ruined the pro game. The other day, Rory McIlroy laughably claimed that the equipment isn’t responsible for distance increases, just that the players are stronger and fitter now.

      So, then he shouldn’t have any problem going back to persimmon or stainless steel headed clubs with a maximum size of 300 cc and wound balls, should he?

      I’ll wait for his answer.

      And yes, half of today’s pros would be parking the expensive cars rather than driving them, if a roll-back of equipment were to take place. And many, many golf instructors would quickly lose their revenue source if they couldn’t teach a proper, mechanically-sound golf swing.

      Unfortunately, we’ll likely never see this.

      1. targettom

        yes not only current players but also all of the announcers I’m aware of spout this nonsense. Sure there are more players now with flat stomachs, not sure they’re all that healthy though since many of them chew tobacco or smoke. But in any event yours is the prefect rebuttal, no wonder they are resisting talk about going backwards with the ball for the tour.

        p.s. did you see TW on 5 today? Pull hook left into the trees on his 2nd shot…..

    2. targettom

      I have to admit that at times these guys look pretty bad. Reed just hooked a short iron at 6 that was unbelievably left of left, must be 25-30 yards left. Perfect weather conditions yet the announcers just said “very tough conditions today”. I’m not saying I could do better, but I’m not on the tour. Looks like perfect conditions to me.

      1. D Watts Post author

        If these are tough conditions, then I have no idea what proper conditions are. They’re wearing short sleeves, the flags aren’t snapping… I just saw a shot to 15 and the flag is limp. So, the only tough conditions are the ones the players are creating for themselves.

        I’ve said for years that these guys are the best in the world. They shouldn’t be missing greens with wedges in their hands, they shouldn’t be missing greens by 10-20 yard yards with yanks and blowouts with mid-irons in their hands, and they shouldn’t be missing fairways by 30-40 yards with the modern equipment in their hands.

        I’m not on Tour either, but if I miss a green with anything less than a 7 iron in my hand from the fairway with a proper lie and benign conditions, I am not happy, and if I were to miss it by multiples of ten at the rate I see on TV, I’d seriously consider quitting playing at all, since I’m not making millions of dollars to do so.

        But hey, whatever.

  2. FAS

    Have you seen the pre shot routine of Justin Rose? Looks very much like that Tiger drill. Whatever works for him I guess but he looks more like a pregnant giraffe. The shape he gets into is more like playing a cover drive in cricket.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I have, FAS.

      It looks great on the drop he’s doing, looks like my “3 O’Clock” drill dropping the elbow to the side. The rest of it is a Sean Foley Special. And Rose also has back issues, but I can’t understand why… 😉

    1. D Watts Post author

      Kuchar is a very short hitter for his size (6’4″), and it’s due to his swing model. The modern equipment allows him to drive it far enough to play, with a very un-powerful swing.

      As long as that modern equipment lets people drive it 280-300 with relatively easy swings, then Kuch will be a Top-10 money-printing machine as long as he wishes!

  3. Mike Divot

    I think TW’s problem is that he’s really only making scores at par 5’s.

    In the Arnold Palmer, look at the guys who finished top 5 (including TW) but take out the par 5’s from all 4 rounds – birdies, bogies, everything.

    Including par 5’s they scored: -18, -15, -14, -13, -10, -10

    Take out the par 5’s, they scored: -9, -3, -3, -5, +1, -5

    Now guess who the +1 is.

    They all gained a lot of strokes on par 5’s but they also gained strokes on the 3’s and 4’s …. except one guy …

    Put that one guy on a course where it’s not so easy to gain strokes on the 5’s and you get a guy who’s 4 over and out of it already.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Tiger always devoured the par 5’s, he basically turned any course he played into a par 68 when he was winning majors. Now, he’s either missing the fairways and having to lay up then scuffing his wedges, or he’s hitting the fairway and blowing the 2nd shots.

      He just drove it into the bunker on the par 5 second hole, as I write this. Laid up and 3rd shot into the bunker again… so it goes…

      They’re going to have to find someone else to talk about, though they likely won’t, which will make it really obnoxious sitting through all of the “earlier today, Tiger Woods…” nonsense, and the same tomorrow.

      Oh well – someone’s going to win it tomorrow! I wouldn’t inscribe Reed’s name on trophy yet, remember what he did at the API… this will be Nerves X 1000 compared to his birdie putt on 18 a few weeks back…

      I’ll just enjoy the play and see who wins.

  4. buddhabob

    watching today. I have not seen as much fun, dynamic golf in a Major in a long time. Wonderful. Very entertaining. The course is not defenseless from the damp but much easier to attack. Reed and Fleetwood and Fowler and so many are all straight down the fairway. Who cares about Tiger?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Look at that leaderboard! We’re almost guaranteed a memorable first-time winner with Reed, Rahm or Fowler, a Grand Slam completion for McIlroy, or a 2nd major for Stenson… there is no boring scenario here, because if none of these fellows win it, someone will have burnt the barn down coming from behind.

      I will be watching Day 4 from the time the last groups tee off, you can be sure!

      And as for Tiger, I usually watch him play, because he was the man who excited me enough to buy my first range membership back in April of ’97, and we wouldn’t all be here on this blog if he hadn’t.

      I have my issues with the coverage, but he gets the eyeballs. I’ll likely watch him tomorrow as well, and he should be well finished hogging all the oxygen by the time things really get underway.

      Should be a great day of golf watching, thanks to the limited commercials. Too bad about those modern swings though, and the sure to be schmaltzy commentary … the only drawbacks. 😉

  5. buddhabob

    if truth be told, Augusta if its soft and damp is very vulnerable, all things considered, because it was designed for the balata ball and 43 inch steel shafts. The way they have turned the greens into billiard tables makes it like miniature golf now, its a big reason Speith won in 15′ with his crappy swing thats full of more power leaks than a Ford Pinto.

    Today we got to see guys fly right at the pin and dare the greens to hold them back, it was unrestrained and great.

    I could be wrong but if you look at the old black and whites of Player and Palmer and Nicklaus playing the Master’s, the greens look much thicker and much slower. They are really banging putts. Its not at all like the putting on glass surfaces that we see now. I guess its the only way the Augusta people figured to proof the course from yielding floods of birdies. But its not really good for the game. It makes it far less about skill and more about chance and to some extent, touch. I think it diminishes the game. Sort of like how the 3 pt. shot has now made the NBA far more one dimensional.

    1. D Watts Post author

      If I remember some of the things I read in the 90’s Golf Digest and Golf Magazine issues that I regularly bought, BB, the Augusta National greens were always faster than regular Tour stop greens.

      Of course, back then it could have been 9 on the Stimp compared to 6 or 7 (instead of 13-14 compared to 11-12), but my recollection is that they were always faster. Due to improvements in agronomy and mowing equipment, all of the greens have gotten faster and faster, but the reality is that it’s the only way to protect the courses from modern equipment.

      I would propose mowing the fairways at a reasonable length, first of all, since the fairways today are faster than the greens of 50 years ago, and a good portion of the length of today’s driving distances are due to the ridiculous run-out you see on TV.

      I saw Tiger Woods use a driving iron that carried about 240 and ended up over 300 yards a few weeks back, and that has nothing to do with how far the balls fly now.

      So, if they aren’t going to roll back the ball or clubs, then roll back the fairways so that drives only roll out 10-20 yards instead of 50-75. Of course, this won’t happen, because the same people responsible for the hard and fast fairways are the ones marketing the “these guys are good” memes and taking money from the club manufacturers to hype distance.

      Now, the game is a putting contest, because guys who can’t even find the center of the club face can get it close enough to the green to compete and win with great short games.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I thought I’d watch the morning groups but just tuning in now, doesn’t look like I missed much though with the featured group.

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