Woods has been more consistent off the tee this year. (Heathcote/Getty Images)
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
Make it four wins now for the world’s No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods. The reality is Tiger was one flag stick width away from making it five wins and his 15th career major championship. Add it all up and he has been as dominant to the start of this season as he has ever been.
When watching Tiger this week at THE PLAYERS Championship, I saw a player who has come full circle from his struggles just a couple of years ago. Make no mistake, Sean Foley has helped Tiger get his game back on track and now you are seeing the best player of our time getting back to rewriting the record books.
One of the things that Tiger has improved upon considerably is the path of his clubhead in relationship to the target line through impact. Not too long ago, Tiger had the clubhead too far behind him on the downswing, resulting in a clubhead path that was too much from in-to-out. As a result, Tiger was hitting big pushes and draws. What’s important about the path of the clubhead is generally speaking the more the clubhead works away from zero (target line) the bigger the dispersion you are likely to have with your ball flight.
A noticeable change that has helped Tiger achieve a more consistent downswing path is allowing his lead arm to work more under his left shoulder during the backswing. During his struggles, Tiger’s lead arm was moving away from his body and then rotating too much over his shoulder line. The result saw the club shaft get laid off leading to his downswing frustrations.
Now, you will see how Tiger keeps his lead arm much closer to his body which allows for less rotation to the top. As a result, the club shaft is now on plane, allowing for a more reliable downswing path back to impact. This improvement in the path of the club head has now positioned Tiger to work the ball both ways and at different trajectories with all clubs. This progression was clearly evident on the 72nd hole at TPC Sawgrass. For months we have been only been seeing fades out of Tiger; however, with the tournament on the line Tiger hit not only one draw but two to seal his second PLAYERS Championship.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.