Friday, January 30, 2015
TIGER'S SWING CHANGES ARE A 'WASTE'
After seeing Tiger Woods card an 82 Friday, it seemed only fitting the title sponsor
of the Phoenix Open made its name by hauling away garbage. Waste Management boxed
up Tiger's mess in a neat little box and sent him on his way after missing the cut.
Garbage. That's about the best way to describe Tiger's worst round as a professional. Missed
fairways, chunks, chili-dips, shanks, and pulls were the low-lights of the round. His lone
highlight came afterward when he met the media and channeled his Marshawn Lynch, joking,
"I'm only here so I wouldn't get fined."
It's good to see Tiger laugh at himself as others are laughing at his newly constructed swing
and the quotes that followed. "My swing is too steep after it had been shallow," or something
like that. Tiger talked about angles and other techno-jargon that seems to not only have
messed up his swing even more, but his mind as well.
It's hard to imagine a player with so much talent, experience, intelligence, and savvy going
through so many changes and swing coaches over the years. He has as many
ex-swing coaches as Elizabeth Taylor had ex-husbands.
Tiger, forget about the swing coaches and being so gosh darn mechanical. You still have
more talent than 95 percent of the guys on tour. Clear your mind of all the technical aspects
of your swing and just hit the damn ball. Good lord, 90 percent of the television audience
doesn't know or care about your swing being too shallow or steep. Whatever it is right now,
is not working. Oh, sure, I know it's early, but an 82? That's not exactly progress.
Why the heck did Tiger ever have to change what wasn't broken?
In his first six years on tour, Tiger won eight major championships. His winning percentage
in majors was a mind-boggling 36 percent. Then, in 2002, he decided to fire Butch Harmon
as his swing coach and hire Hank Haney. Tiger had been crushing everybody and by a lot,
but it wasn't good enough. Kudos to him for trying to improve even more, but come on.
Anyone who has played golf knows how hard it is to reconstruct a swing. Then when doubts
creep in because success doesn't come as easy as it once did, the mind can play tricks on
you. Then you ask yourself, was it really worth it?
It hasn't been for Tiger.
He had good success with Hank Haney, winning six majors, the last of which came
in 2008. Then Tiger's world came undone when it was revealed that he was a serial philanderer.
Then came the avalanche. He got divorced from his wife, then his swing coach. Tiger
fired Haney in 2010 and turned to Sean Foley, whom he had moderate success with but
no majors with. Tiger let Foley walk and brought on some guy named Chris Como.
And now we have this: and 82 and a missed cut.
Tiger says he's a work in progress which has seemingly been the case with the last two
swing coaches. But Tiger should hardly be a work in progress at this stage of his career.
Rory McIlroy has blown by him as the number one player in the world and nobody is
scared of him anymore.
Tiger looks scared of himself, unsure of his swing and where the ball is going. I know
that Tiger doesn't usually start his season this early and there is plenty of time before
Augusta to re-fine his swing. But an 82 doesn't look good anywhere, not on Tiger Woods,
the longtime best player in the game. An 82? This is Tiger Woods, not John Daly.
This is turning into a real sad story. Tiger Woods, a player who was dominating golf
like nobody before him, was ruined by his off-course festivities and his desire to change
his swing again and again.
Man, like the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, you don't need to fix it." Tiger should've
taken that advice in 2002 and just continued to torch everyone and rack up majors.
Unfortunately, he's turning into a case of, what might've been.