Its good for your game
5 things Tiger needs to do
By T.J. Tomasi
Tiger Woods has had his problems ever since he hit that fire hydrant, and now he is about to drop out of the top 10 in the world rankings. His swing is hurting his knee, and his knee is hurting his swing. What to do?
1. Tiger needs to match up his body and his swing mechanics. He needs to rotate his hips rather than slide them. With his new swing, the weight stays constantly on his front leg, and as soon as the downswing begins, even more pressure is dumped into the joint.
Instead of pressure at address, no pressure at the top, then pressure again at impact, his swing profile is pressure, pressure, then more pressure. There's no relief from joint pressure in his new swing. While the amount of pounds per square inch on the joint is key to the injury, the time over which the force is applied is also important: Increase the time, and you increase the injury.
To avoid further injury, Tiger needs to "melt," meaning that he should flare his front foot extensively, then keep the left knee from hyperextending through impact. He should hit the ball with a flexed left leg instead of a hyperextended one. Biomechanically, the human knee works over the foot, so the flare is essential to relieve pressure.
2. He needs to weaken his grip, move the ball forward and aim left, then take the club away so it's more vertical and in front of him. In other words, he needs to set up and play a fade ala the guy he's chasing -- Jack Nicklaus. Tiger has always been much better at fading the ball than drawing it.
3. He needs to increase the rotation of his hips, turning them sooner, not faster. By rotating his hips sooner, he'll keep the face open, and by swinging more upright, the club won't be buried behind him.
4. "How I release the putter, how I release the short game, how I release irons, drivers -- they're all related," says Woods, echoing coach Sean Foley's philosophy. "You just can't have one swing (for one segment) and then have another -- they're all interrelated."
Bad concept: Tiger needs to abandon the idea that all swings, from chipping and sand to the full swing and putting, are the same. It sounds good, but it is false. The swing planes for the various parts of the game are different. The wrist set is different, the pressure transfers are different, the shoulder action is different, the ball positions differ, the clubface positions at address and throughout the swing are different. It has been documented, using radar testing, that in general you need two different golf swings, one with the driver and a different one with the irons with the ball on the ground.
It's no wonder that neither Butch Harmon nor Hank Haney tried to change Tiger's short game. Now stripped of his greatest weapon ― his short game ― Tiger no longer strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents.
5. The last thing he should do is learn how to walk like Sasquatch. No joke. There are several ways to walk, and you can take the stress off your knees by keeping your knees flexed all the way through the stride. It takes practice, but you can learn to use your thigh muscles to plant the leg and control the motion. Most people overuse their hips and shoulders, causing hyperextension of the knees. The Sasquatch style looks funny, but can save an injured knee.
Following my suggestions, Tiger won't hit it as far and won't be able to play as many shots, but he will be able to play, and at this point, that will be an improvement!
Tomasi writes for Universal Press Syndicate.