You cannot talk about the modern game of golf without the name Tiger Woods. But why is that? Of course there is his historic record including being second in history to Jack Nicklaus for number of majors won. But when you look closer at his game, he is one of the few golfers to go through not only one but numerous evolutions of his game and his swing. Let’s look closer at where Tiger Woods’ swing has been and where it is going.
In 1997 when Tiger first burst onto the PGA Tour, he was a skinny but powerful striker of the golf ball. He was known for his length off the tee, which was a huge advantage, and he led the Tour in driving those first few years. He also was a superb putter and had an accomplished short game forged while winning three consecutive amateur championships. Shortly before entering the pro ranks he decided he needed to revamp his swing, with Butch Harmon, and began to create a shorter, more compact and controlled swing.
That resulted in winning The Masters in 1997 by a record 12 strokes. That kind of success was more than any pro could wish for, but all that Tiger saw was how his golf swing could be improved. He embarked on another structural and fundamental swing change, this time to do two main things: put him in a more athletic set-up position to better utilize his strength and power; and to help him to coordinate his arms with his hips and prevent “getting stuck” when his arms lag behind his body causing him to leave the clubface open at impact or overcompensate by shutting it too quickly. In 2002 he claimed to have mastered the new swing and went on a tear of 8 victories and then 9 more the following year including winning the US Open by 15 strokes.
In late 2004 Tiger Woods left Butch Harmon because he still felt that his golf swing could be improved. While he gained an efficient swing, he still suffered from inconsistency between his body and his arms. He left Butch Harmon and sought out Hank Haney, a swing coach who had retooled his friend Mark O’Meara’s swing. With Hank, Tiger began to undertake one of the most dramatic and fundamental swing changes in golf history. Traditionally a professional golf swing would naturally hit the ball right-to-left, or a draw. Tiger had grown up playing a draw, but he felt he needed to be able to play for left-to-right (fade) shots to achieve more control. This began a period of time when Tiger struggled longer than normal to master this new swing. But he did win 6 more major tournaments. All that came to an end when in 2008 he finally admitted to his knee being injured and underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL, which was reportedly the result of the swings Harmon and Haney had Tiger using.
Tiger’s latest golf swing change started in 2010, when he attempted to reinvent his swing himself. After one of the worst seasons of his career, he sought out new coach Sean Foley, who takes on another approach that is very technical and based on constant observation and data analysis. For the last 2 seasons Tiger has slowly showed signs of progress but also shown that he may not be even close.
So far in 2013 Tiger has slowly shown more and more success with this latest swing and in fact has achieved a few wins already early in the season. And once he feels confident and no longer concerned with the mechanicals of his golf swing, he shows the potential to achieve the level of success we all know Tiger to have.
Tiger Woods Golf Swing (Driver) 2012 With Slow Motion Video