Tiger's new swing features older characteristics
The 14-time major champion looked at video from his junior days with consultant Chris Como
December 02, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- December 02, 2014
- Tiger Woods will play competitively this week at the Hero World Challenge outside of Orlando, Florida. (Mike Wolfe/PGA TOUR)
WINDERMERE, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is turning back the clock. Or at least he hopes to with his golf swing.
Sean Foley is out -- he and Woods having amicably parted ways at the end of August -- and Chris Como is in. What brought the two together is that Como has the same vision of what Woods’ swing should be as the former world No. 1 and 14-time major champion.
It turns out that philosophy isn’t a new one.
“Well, it is new, but it’s old,” Woods said Tuesday from the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth Country Club, where he is making his first start since missing the cut at the PGA Championship more than three months ago. “We looked at a lot of video from when I was a junior -- even when I came out there and had some really nice years where I hit the ball really well. We went back to some of those old videos and really looked at it.
“And it was quite interesting to see where my swing was then and how much force I could generate with a very skinny frame. How did I do that? How do I generate that much power? That's kind of what we are getting back into.”
The search even included trying to find a VCR since a lot of those swings are on video tape.
What Woods’ swing changes won’t include is a major overhaul, at least not to the extent he underwent with each of his three previous coaches.
“It's familiar, so it has not taken me that long to implement it,” Woods said. “I just need to hit more balls and get more reps, especially under competition, I want to see where it’s at.”
First look at Tiger Woods' swing with consultant Chris Como
The last time we saw Woods he was limping off the course at Valhalla, where he struggled to a pair of 74s and failed to make it to the weekend in a major for just the fourth time in his career.
It was a fitting end to what was a miserable and injury-plagued year for Woods.
In just seven starts on the PGA TOUR last season, he withdrew or missed the cut in four of them. Only twice did Woods actually finish a tournament -- his best result was a tie for 25th at the no-cut World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship -- and he failed to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs for the second time in three years.
“I wasn't ready,” Woods said when asked about his optimism now compared to when he returned from injury too soon earlier this year at Congressional. “I didn't play very well, and it showed. It reflected. My scores were awful.
“So having the next few months off, being able to get my body stronger, but also as I said earlier, trying to really understand where I want to go with my golf swing. And having an old motor pattern that I know has made the transition so much easier.”
As for the swing Woods tried to develop under Foley and splitting when they did?
“Tiger called me and we had this very heartfelt discussion,” Foley told ScoreGolf.com earlier this week. “We know what we went through together. I know the state I found him in and so does he.
“We came to a point where we weren’t communicating as well as we needed to anymore and we didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship. I love TW. We still talk back and forth. That’s one thing I’m very proud of. We handled the situation in a very classy way. That’s the only way we would.”
Added Woods: “I think that physically, I just wasn't able to do some of the things that we wanted to do in the golf swing.”
Tiger Woods' first ace in 1996
Ultimately, that’s what prompted Woods to change coaches and go in a new, old direction.
“Do I really want to change my golf swing again, and how much do I want to change it and where am I going to go with it?” Woods said. “These are all questions that I just sat back and took a few months away from it and started developing that answer and ways to go about it.”
Time will tell if his body is up to it.
Seven times since 2010 Woods has been forced to withdraw from a tournament or miss significant time due to injury. Though Woods claims to be 5 pounds lighter than the last time he played, he will turn 40 next December.
“Father Time is undefeated,” Woods said. “We all eventually are losing some of the things we are able to do when we were younger.
“I can't blow it out there with some of the longer guys anymore. Back when I was younger, a long ball was 290 in the air. That was a big ball. Now it's 320,325. That's the new standard out here. Some of the longer guys, Bubba, Woody, Dustin, they carry 325. That's the number they carry over bunkers. I don't quite have that. But there's other ways to go around a golf course, and I think that's when it's really neat to be part of a sport in which you can play for such a long period of time, and you can win at a very late age because you don't have to physically dominate anybody. You don't have to physically beat anybody. You just have to beat the golf course.”
Tiger Woods' swing: 2014 Hero World Challenge vs. 2013