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Friday, August 27, 2010

Interesting Notes from the Barclay

Tiger Woods pic from LA Times article
Click here to read the LA Times article that included this picture.

Alright, I have to mention this. After Tiger laid down his best driving performance in 72 rounds (according to TGC), they showed one of his drives in slow motion and I immediately focused on his right heel. You'll recall that I did an entire post wondering if his tendency to lift his right heel early in his downswing -- something he seemed to have gotten away from this year -- had something to do with his poor driving.

Lo and behold, his heel popped off the ground pretty quickly! Even Nick Faldo remarked that his feet were awfully active. I don't know if that was indeed a major cause of his problems, but I think it's interesting that it returned at the same time his game improved.

Of course, the big question is whether his game has returned. Again, I don't know but here are some of his Thursday stats from PGATour.com:
  • Driving Distance: 255.5 yards (I think he used his 3-wood most of the day, although I heard he striped his driver the few times he used it)
  • Driving Accuracy: 92.9% (only 1 missed fairway, and he barely missed that one)
  • GIR: 83.3% (only 3 missed greens)
  • Total Putts: 27
  • Score: 65 (-6, tied for the lead) -- 7 birdies, 10 pars, 1 bogey
The course is a par-71, in case you didn't know, and it was a bit soft. Still, this is Tiger's best showing of the year. Tiger said the morning guys definitely got the best of it Thursday, as the greens were getting a little rough even while he was on the back 9 (there's poa in them there greens, so they grow a bit unevenly). We'll see how Tiger's game holds up this afternoon.

Stephanie Wei mentioned Joe Ogilvie's tweet about the rule that got Jim Furyk DQed, saying that he was on the policy board when it was passed and that he now considered it a mistake. I'm sure that's only going to add more fuel to the fire Furyk's DQ has sparked.

Anthony Kim posted a 73 (+2), but that's an improvement. He's still about 20 yards behind his driving average, but it looks like GIR is his real problem right now. He hit only half his greens Thursday, which probably means it still hurts him to "go down after" the ball. I'll be surprised if he makes the Ryder Cup team this time; I just don't think he's healthy yet.

And I want to mention Adam Scott. His move up the leaderboard Thursday was pretty impressive. He's been inconsistent this year, but I did a little comparison of his stats to his Valero win earlier this year and it looks as if they are generally trending upward. Perhaps we're on the verge of seeing Adam return to form.

And a couple more interesting notes: Brian Gay is at -5, one off the lead, and David Duval is at -3.

This tournament looks to be wide open. Let's hope an interesting first day turns into an interesting tournament. (And Anthony... get it going, bud. I'm pulling for you!)

3 comments:

  1. Probably a dumb question - but in the shots I saw of Tiger yesterday, he just looked more relaxed over the ball. He didn't look worried or distracted like he has the rest of this season. He looked more like he did at The Memorial a couple of years ago when he was swinging smoothly and didn't try to swing out of his shoes all week.

    The guy is a phenom when it comes to making adjustments - and he said that he found something on the range and just committed to it all day yesterday.

    Is it possible that, even if he doesn't have that "pefect" swing he had 8 to 10 years ago, yesterday's round was more mental than physical ?

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  2. Not dumb at all... I think you're right. I don't know how long it will last, but it's got to be a relief just to have things settled.

    Personally, I don't believe he ever had a perfect swing; he just knows what he can do with his swing if it's controllable. If you don't believe you're up to the challenge, you probably won't be... and I don't think Tiger's ever had that problem.

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  3. Did you catch the slow motion comparison they did of Tiger's swing during yesterdays telecast? The analyst focused on his takeaway as the reason for his improved driving accuracy, which may be true.

    I was more focused on his right heel because of your post. And you are absolutely right. His right heel comes up early and slightly drags forward before replanting.

    The analyst didn't mention it, but I noticed it. Obviously I don't know how that would help his swing or even if it is a conscious move, but I certainly would never have caught it. Again, I am learning more and more each day that little changes make huge differences.

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