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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Was That Tiger O'Hair?

Another quick post, this one about the Tavistock Cup. For those of you who didn't see much of it, the Isleworth course was set up so it was somewhat similar to the speed of Augusta... which you would expect, since the big boys who live there are ready to start practicing for the Masters. It turned out to be a pretty good tournament, and Tiger also played pretty well with a sixth-place individual finish.

But what interested me most was a brief side-by-side slo-mo of two players -- Tiger Woods and Sean O'Hair. Frank Nobilo made a point of how similar their swings look -- not exactly unexpected, since both just happen to be Sean Foley students -- but it was eerie watching the two swing in lockstep with each other. He also noted (a couple of times, in fact) that Tiger is snapping his left knee much less on his followthrough than he has in the past.

I wasn't writing this blog when Tiger originally changed teachers from Butch to Hank, but I remember talking with friends and saying that I believed that was Tiger's primary reason for changing. He had already been having a lot of trouble with that knee and Hank's more rounded swing concept seemed to be a logical way to eliminate some of that snapping motion.

Of course, Tiger continued to have knee problems, probably because he began dipping and jerking so much on his downswing. It's quite possible that Tiger's change to Foley was driven at least in part by a belief that Foley could help him eliminate those violent moves -- moves that contribute to that snapping motion and his constant knee problems. If that's true, I certainly understand -- I have a basic belief that your golf swing shouldn't hurt. ;-)

Nevertheless, it's a sign that things have changed. It wasn't that long ago that we compared other players' swings to Tiger's; now we compare Tiger's swing to theirs. While Tiger may once again become the dominant player on Tour, I can't help but feel that something irreversible has happened.

When Tiger believes he will improve by becoming like everybody else, we know the game has changed.

BTW, Lake Nona won the event by about 15 strokes. Frank Nobilo is extremely happy. ;-)


  1. Wish I would have seen that. Chamblee did Mahan v Tiger the other day. He must have found one particular swing to compare with O'Hair's swing. I don't recall O'Hair's swing looking as cramped up as Woods' does.

  2. Golf Digest's current issue has a long article on the evolution of Tiger's swing.

  3. Court -- Actually, it looked like they filmed the swings on the same tee, and their swings were pretty representative of how I saw them swinging most of the day. Frank remarked that they weren't identical, but that they were amazingly similar. The main difference he pointed out was that Tiger wasn't moving his shoulders as well as Sean.

    Lefty -- I saw that slideshow; I think Devil Ball Golf posted it. I haven't read the article yet though; thanks for the url.

  4. well of course not - O'Hair's a young buck, and...well...TW's just not that flexible rubber band he used to be. :-)