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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tiger's Off the Schneid

As you probably know by now, Tiger finally got a point at the Presidents Cup matches. But it's what the commentators said about it that interests us in today's post.

Yesterday I mentioned how I heard some of the guys on ESPN2 saying there is no chance whatsoever that Tiger will ever get back to where he was. Ironically, the folks at GC and NBC were much more generous than I expected. Everybody from Brandel Chamblee to Johnny Miller has commented on how the score didn't really indicate how Tiger was playing. They said he was hitting the ball pretty well. They pointed out that Tiger's partners hadn't played quite as well as he had, often leaving him in some bad situations, and that he generally played his matches against the International players who were playing the best. To a large degree he was simply one of Royal Melbourne's victims -- the conditions have made just staying on the greens an accomplishment. And they are absolutely amazed at how much he's improved in the last couple of months. Here's what I heard several of them agree on: "He's hitting a lot of quality shots."

I found this very interesting... and not just because I agree with them about most of it. It's because I have a decent memory.

Aren't these the same people who spent the last 12 months complaining that Tiger was on the wrong track? That he needed to go back to Butch Harmon? That he was better off when he was with Hank Haney? (Of course, they complained about Haney until Foley came onto the scene!)

Aren't these the same people who complained that Sean Foley had no idea what Tiger needed to be doing? Who kept dissecting video of Tiger's swing, each time picking out specific positions Foley was teaching and ranting about how these were 100% wrong and would only shipwreck Tiger's hopes of regaining form? Who complained because Tiger was changing his short game motion to incorporate these new moves as well?

Now they're pointing out that he's hitting more fairways than he has in years, that he's playing shots they haven't seen him hit in years (and control them), and that his putting and short game look extremely good. Did you notice that Tiger's stinger is back -- a shot that's been missing from his arsenal for years because he couldn't hit it anymore? And all of this has happened basically since the FedExCup playoffs because Tiger wasn't healthy enough to practice before then.

It certainly seems that Tiger and Foley had some idea what they were doing after all!

Why do I point this out?

Many of you are listening to people critique your swing and tell you that everything you do is wrong. They're telling you that there's only one correct way to swing, and that if you don't do it that way you'll be doomed to shoot 110 for the rest of your life. They say you need a "pretty" swing that mimics the Iron Byron machine, or that no good can come from Stack and Tilt, or that the newest swing gizmo will teach you the secret of the perfect swing. They seem to forget that Tiger has dominated the game with 3 different sets of swing mechanics, and just might be on the verge of doing it with a 4th set.

Online censors prevent me from expressing my unedited opinion of such ridiculous babbling. Let me just say this:

There are fewer fundamentals in the game of golf than most people want you to believe. There are more ways to incorporate them into your swing than they want you to believe. And best of all, you are smart enough to know the difference.

Remember folks, nobody knows your swing and your body better than you do. It takes very little guidance to learn what's right and wrong for your game. And the most important thing you can do to improve is be convinced that you're following the instruction that works for you.

Maybe Tiger hasn't had the last laugh yet, but he's chuckling.

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