I watched the Golf Channel debate between Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo following the first round of this week’s PGA championship. I listened to and read a large amount of the analysis in the day following the debate. I’ve read opinions of teachers who know Trackman numbers inside and out and players who know injury. I believe I’m ready to chime in at last.
To begin with, I am and have been a big fan of Tiger’s golf for 20 years. I have watched and learned from him that entire time, trying to understand what he is seeking to accomplish. I think it is safe to say I’ve watched almost all of his victories on TV. I’ve read what he has published and what his teachers have published. I’ve listened to him talk about his game (what he will allow us to know) and I’ve listened to and read the endless analysis of his game by the experts in teaching and playing. I agree and disagree with a lot of what I hear and see about his technique. What I want to relate here is a point that I’m not certain I’ve heard made.
Tiger Woods may know more about the golf swing, how to hit golf shots and how to score and win at golf than any man who ever lived.
Think about it for a moment. Who hasn’t he had a chance to learn from, directly or indirectly via his many teachers, specifically Butch Harmon and Hank Haney or those players he has been around? Tommy Armour, Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Claude Harmon, Greg Norman, Davis Love, etc. via Harmon as an example. He has taken what he needed to use from every teacher he has ever had including his own father, filtered it and put it into play and won with it.
Another point on Tiger, put succinctly by a club pro I know who is friendly with Haney: Tiger does what Tiger wants. No teacher makes him do anything he doesn’t want to do.
Given all of this information, it’s short sighted to think that Sean Foley is somehow giving Tiger bad info and causing him to fizzle. Also, it would be an insult to Tiger’s golf IQ to intimate that he is going some direction with his golf game that he doesn’t believe he can make work. Who could know what it takes to make a framework function better than Tiger? Therefore the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Tiger is making adjustments he feels he MUST make to put himself in position to win. These changes must be the result of what his body will permit him to do, plain and simple. His good shots are still very, very good. Health and repetition in competition are what is required to put things back on track.
I for one hope he gets there, because I still enjoy watching him play, especially when he plays well. I also hope that someday he chooses to share what might be the Templar Treasure of golf knowledge with the rest of us. Until then, we’ll keep debating shaft lean.