Tiger Woods’ Health & Club Speed (Update – “Ice Baths?!?”

Update Below The Fold – And It Isn’t Good News **

I guess anyone watching the weekend’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational noticed that the announcers seems to be focused on Tiger Woods and his apparent stiffness, lack of energy and other things on the weekend.

I will admit that I only saw much of him on Thursday, because the weekend had me busy with family things and working on the “MCS – The Kinetic Chain” video.

** Update: Well, this news puts things in a different (and darker) perspective – if you thought TW was looking not-so-great on the weekend, we now hear that he took Monday off preparing for the PGA Championship that begins on Thursday.

And he underwent multiple ice bath treatments to control inflammation. Courtesy of Nick Menta for Golf Channel:

Needing a day off, Woods took one on Monday, staying off the course at Bellerive and opting instead for an ice bath and some stretching in effort “to get some inflammation down.”

Woods was later asked how many ice baths he’s taken this year and exactly where he was feeling inflammation, but he was short with his response.

“Three. And everywhere,” he answered.

It gets even worse, as I read from Brian Wacker of GolfDigest regarding TW’s view on his physical issues:

“There’s going to be certain days that I’m just not going to have the speed and the flexibility and the movement that I once did,” he said. “I’m 42 now, and I’ve had four back surgeries. So things are going to be different from day to day, and it’s just about managing it.

“I didn’t really have any of those issues when I was early in my career because I didn’t have a fixed point in my back. My knee used to hurt a lot, but I could play around that. Playing around my spine’s a little bit different.”

Looking at the part which I underlined, I can draw only one conclusion: Tiger Woods destroyed his knee by continuing to play through knee pain (and the accompanying damage) caused by the way he swung over the years, and he’s doing the same thing with regards to his back.

Sadly, the end result is likely to be the same as before.


I read lots of online commentary about him walking rather gingerly and not reacting visibly to either good or bad shots (like someone who is ill or injured and so focused on finishing the round that they show little emotion to their actual play).

You even have the GolfDigest writer Luke Kerr-Dineen asking “Should We Be Worrying About Tiger Woods’ Declining Swing Speed?”

The PGA Tour season’s climax is approaching, with tournaments coming thick and fast, and there are some signs that the most prolonged period of starts for Woods is starting to wear on the 14-time major champ.

There was the kinesio tape at the Open Championship that caused a minor alarm, and he’s talked about not being able to practice as hard as he used to. He’s even copped to some back stiffness.

I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be worried about a 42 year old golfer on the back end of four back surgeries, the last a spinal fusion, trying to swing like a 22 year old – I was myself more concerned than impressed with the fact that he was swinging around 120 mph in club speed.

This Is The Problem:

It’s not his age, nor even the four surgeries that are a concern – I myself am 48 years old, I have scoliosis and a likely degenerating S.I. joint in my left hip, so that when I walk 18 holes these days, I can barely get into the car upon completion – but I just a few days ago was getting up to nearly 120 mph in club speed:

… and I don’t even work out or practice, just hit balls once or twice a week.  And I’m no closer to injuring my back swinging a club around 120 mph than signing up for salsa dance lessons.

The difference is that I swing with a Classic Golf Swing model, my own MCS Golf Swing, and as you can see, I can put a hurting on the ball at any time you ask, without hurting myself or even feeling stiffness:

And it’s not because I don’t hit balls regularly, either – the more practice I get, the faster my swing speed gets, again with no injuries or soreness.

When I have time to hit balls 3-4 times per week, my club speed is usually around 125 mph or higher, even in my late 40’s, judging by the fact that I can get over 185 mph ball speed when I’m in swing shape:

Last Summer – 47 Years Old

So, the problem that I am looking at is that a man with a lengthy back injury and surgery record going back at least 5 years is swinging with a Modern Golf Swing motion where he’s still twisting his lower back against a restricted hip turn in order to produce a big shoulder turn:

… which makes for a very violent change of direction due to the torquing forces it places on the twisting area, and that isn’t good for anyone, let alone him.

It doesn’t matter that the injured area was fused, because as I stated – and any doctor will tell you:

 … if you fuse the spot that you injured twisting your back and then subjecting it to violent changes of direction and you continue to swing that way, you’re just transferring the twisting forces to another part of the un-fused spine

I’ve worked with college-aged kids who were experiencing back pain with their swing action until they switched to the full-hip-turn classic action, which is mechanically-correct, while the way TW is swinging above is NOT mechanically-sound.

So, I don’t know what’s going on with Mr. Woods – I do know that for someone who has supposedly had successful surgery, he’s taking pain-killing anti-inflammatory meds (and why would you have to if everything is fine?), he was wearing kinesio tape around his upper back and neck area during the Open Championship, and he has, as mentioned in the article above, copped to having back stiffness.

All of this is nothing surprising when you look at how he swings, and the speeds he’s generating with that swing.

I said last winter than TW can win with any golf swing, including the one he’s using now, because he won 8 Tour events in the 2 seasons before his first back surgery, with the same swing that injured his back to begin with.

The only question is, how long will the back hold up?  Is he chasing history with a clock ticking loudly in the background, or is everything fine?

I guess we’ll see!

But that swing is a problem, and has been since he made his return at the Hero last December.

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

4 thoughts on “Tiger Woods’ Health & Club Speed (Update – “Ice Baths?!?”

  1. Jason

    It’s a little bit crazy hearing about tiger doing ice baths and leg lifts when he could fix a few little things: head position at address, increasing his bias and letting that front heel come up at the top of his backswing. Would probably take you 10 minutes to explain it to him DJ and maybe an hour for him to groove. It’s a bit crazy!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Would probably take you 10 minutes to explain it to him DJ and maybe an hour for him to groove.

      Jason, not just me – there must be one golf instructor out there (since I’m just a researcher and analyst) who could explain it to him… but at this point, it could be nothing more than sheer stubborn determination to do it his way, and no way else.

      But all I can say is:

      “48 And Still Going Strong!”

  2. peterallenby2013

    Agreed Jason! But entering the moated, gated, electrified, boundary of Woods World is something few accomplish. And once in, you would have an even larger task – to re-create the mind set – The guy has hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth, sycophants and bobble head “yes sirs” at his beck and call day and night telling him his way is the best and is working and is great and is and is and IS!

    While the truth might set him free, the Woods ego has to answer the knock at the door – and to do that he would have to listen for the knock and then observe that there may be another way. And so far, Mr. Woods, as least publicly, hasn’t acknowledged the existence of any swing methodology other than those he believes he has had a hand in creating.

    Honestly, someone in his camp at some point has put two and two together and raised the topic of perhaps the swing might have something to do with the injuries. Maybe not, but I will bet the topic has been raised privately. And he is a smart guy – While he has won 14 majors and do you really think Woods isn’t aware of the swing that led to 18 major championships? A swing that did not change in a career? I bet he knows it. I bet he knows that classic swing. And I bet he has said to himself, “That’s Jack’s swing. I will crush his record with…Tiger’s swing!!”

    Poor poor Tiger…Until he accepts that, like all of us on this planet, he is just a human being who could use some help now and again,the L whatever that isn’t fused will likely be the next surgical target…

    1. D Watts Post author

      While he has won 14 majors and do you really think Woods isn’t aware of the swing that led to 18 major championships? A swing that did not change in a career? I bet he knows it. I bet he knows that classic swing. And I bet he has said to himself, “That’s Jack’s swing. I will crush his record with…Tiger’s swing!!”

      You know, Peter – that would explain much of the inexplicable when it comes to TW refusing to change the way he swings. And as I’ve stated before, you also point out what is obvious to anyone who cares to think about it:

      … the L whatever that isn’t fused will likely be the next surgical target…

      “L” being Lumbar!

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