Tiger the Readers Have the Answers

By George WhiteAugust 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
OK, now its your turn. I admitted that I didnt know for sure what had kept Tiger from reaching his 1999-2000 level. That column evoked such a tremendous response that here are a few of your views ' edited down, of course.
I think it has to do with the knee injury. The knee was injured with the swing that Harmon taught. Harmon's swing reduces stress on the back, but it places all of the stress on the left side. The power comes from a swift (in Tiger's case very swift) trunk rotation - some part of the body has to handle that load. It was his knee. To obtain the accuracy that Tiger had during that unbelievable reign, his lower body seemed to be quieter to me with the Harmon swing. His newer swing seems to have a little bit more lower body movement to reduce the stress on his knee.
Larry Gage

I think the reason for his so-called decline is not very complicated. There hasn't been a single golfer in history who could sustain an exceptionally high caliber of play his entire career. Every golfer, for whatever reason, goes through periods of highs and lows. No golfer can do it, day in and day out, year after year. No one ever has. That's just the nature of golf.
Mark Brown
Of course lets not forget the other reasons why: Wedding plans, Engagement bliss, Changing equipment (the whole bag!), Gaining 15 pounds of muscle and perhaps losing some flexibility, Fathers ailing health, Parents troubled relationship, and who can forget the constant media and fan speculation. All of these things combined with, oh yeah, the other guys get paid to golf too--are all part of the 'Reasons Why'.
Jason Mathwig

1. Tiger knows that the early great players ' Hogan, Nelson, Snead etc., had no teachers. They figured it out themselves . He really believes he can do this
2. Pride alone will keep him away from Butch, because to go back means he could not do it alone and failed.
3. I think he is, while not admitting it, working with Haney and O'Meara. If you check his putting style, he looks like O'Meara. Also his swing looks like O'Meara and O'Meara cannot carry his shoes.
George J. Dahl
Tiger has raised the bar so high from his early years that even he can't reach his own expectations of performance. From my observance, Tiger has lost some of the youthful zeal he displayed when winning all of those tournaments. But I also think that as Butch has said, Tiger is a student of the game and in order to really master it and to really become the best player of all time, he must take a scientific approach to every aspect of his swing.
Freddie Hall, Jr.

If you recall, when Tiger was younger, his training routine was specifically made for him. As a young man, the strength training obviously helped him quite a bit As Tiger has grown older, his physical attributes - muscles if you will - have dramatically changed because of a maturing of every part of his body. Tiger's body has changed, without a doubt, and dramatically 'changed' his swing sequence -, which he constantly has to adjust to and of course has affected his game. I truly believe his training at this point in his life should 'tone down' and work only on those exercises that keep his muscles supple and elastic.
Emil Marino
I believe that the knee injury, combined with the timing of his split with Butch Harmon, have produced the results we have witnessed. Any time the body goes through the trauma of an injury, you emerge a different person physiologically. If you try to come back too quickly, you tend to favor that area and really get things out of whack. New habits (most of them bad) are formed and can be extremely difficult to correct. Since he split with Butch Harmon at the same time as the injury, he can't see that his swing is very different from what it used to be.
Chuck Benway

The real problem I believe is that Tiger is trying to modify his swing to alleviate the huge amounts of torque he generates up through his knees and lower back vertebrae during his swing. His swing is laid off more at the top of his backswing nowadays, more towards 10 o'clock than 11 o'clock if you view it from behind. His follow-through also has a far greater reduced 'corkscrew' effect than it used to have. I believe he is trying to give himself a newer swing plane that simply generates less stress on his knees and lower back, and this is taking time to become natural for him.
Simon Cast
The rest of the field has gotten better in response to Tiger's challenge. Look at what the other 'best players in the game have done. Low 10 average scores per round on the tour since 1998 - excluding Tiger - have gone from over 69.6 to about 69.4 with a subtle but noticeable downward trend over that period. Considering how much longer and more difficult courses have become, this is an amazing statistic. If you look at the other Big 3 - Ernie, Phil and Vijay - each has shown a steady downward trend in average score since 1998 - with Phil improving an amazing two strokes per round over that period, or eight strokes per tournament.
Steve Wintermeier

consider one more dimension: the Hank Haney factor. Yes, he split with Harmon and, given all the success both he and everyone else has had with Harmon, that was no doubt a mistake. But the most active harm has almost certainly been done by Haney, first through his other pupil and Tiger's best pro buddy, Mark O'Meara, and now directly through a new teacher-pupil arrangement. Haney's screwy, outdated 'theory' about the takeaway has ruined Tiger's swing -- just watch his head bob up and down, his awkward struggling at the transition point, his inconsistent position at finish.
John Foley
The only thing wrong with Tiger's swing is that HE SWINGS TOO HARD!! Think about it - if he were a beginner and a teaching professional saw that swing, the first thing they'd say is, 'Whoa, slow down!!' But, no one even thinks about that just because it's Tiger. They focus on all these technical problems. Well, those technical problems are 'symptoms' of swinging too hard and fast! Look at Phil, he took a little off and he's playing the best golf he's ever played! Tiger tries to kill it every time especially off the tee box, and he's just not swinging well.
Michael Ybaben

Another thing just burns me is in regards to the so-called Elin factor. Perhaps his relationship with her may cut into his practice time or preparation for a tournament, but so what - there's more to life than golf! I hope he enjoys all the wonderful things that marriage brings such as children and the closeness of a family unit. If it affects his golf so be it - he will be a complete and happy man with all that life has to offer outside golf..
Carlos Delta

. . . its Tiger doing it himself. Doing it yourself just puts too many swing thoughts in your head! More so than someone else guiding you. Youre more prone to over-do the corrections, since youre thinking about it and figuring it out yourself. Tigers biggest problem is in his head. It may have been triggered by the injury caused him to start over compensating or something and then every little change forces another little change, etc until it becomes a brain full of jumbled mess.
Hiro Ruo
Has anyone ever given thought to weightlighting as the culprit? Tiger has changed his stucture over the years and not totally due to maturing. I noticed this happens to other players as well. They may get stronger and longer but lose their accuracy. I was a weightlifter and even though my flexibility remained my golf game went to hell. When your structure changes so does your accurate movements.
Bob Ruffo

Great article about Tiger. I do think though that you dismiss Elin a little too quick. I agree that in a lot of cases a strong companion can strengthen you, but in some cases it can also change your perspective on things. I'm not close enough to Tiger's game to know his habits, but I do know that when I acquired a wife, my priorities had to become our priorities and sometimes that meant giving a little and not ever mentioning to my wife or anyone that I was. For example, I am an avid bowhunter. Before my wife, I hunted all the time. Morning to night and then back the next day. But when I got married, things changed just a little. Suddenly while in stand I would think of my wife sitting at home alone, wondering if I would be back any minute or not until night fall. She was always supportive and never asked me once to give it up. And of course I still do hunt and quite a lot I might add; however, there is no doubt that the addition of a wife and then eventually children has changed my approach to how much, when and at what commitment.
I think people mis-understand the Elin theory. I'm not saying that she demands he not practice or that she has put her foot down and told him he can't golf. I'm saying that he, being a gentleman and someone in love for another, does the right thing by her and in some cases that may mean less golf. I mean is there any doubt in anyone's mind that if Tiger played 28 or 30 events a year that he too would win more tournaments. Certainly he would. But he doesn't play more events. Why? I don't know the answer to that question and only he does. But what I do know is that when I'm at the range hitting golf balls and it get's to the end of my first bucket and I want to hit another one, I start thinking about my wife, at home, my kids, at home, bed time stories and watching TV as a family. They all know I love golf and they support my practice, but I, in my heart and in the back of my mind know that they love spending time with me and hitting one more bucket means they can't.
I don't think the Elin theory is that far out of whack. And it doesn't mean Tiger is a bad person or that Elin is. In fact, quite the contrary. It means he's human and does things that most of us do out of respect and love.
Something to ponder.
Jim Morey
Email your thoughts to George White
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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.


Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish


U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)


The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself


PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts



Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret


Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm