Azinger: Woods could be fixed in 10 minutes

By Randall MellAugust 25, 2014, 10:26 pm

Paul Azinger believes Tiger Woods has become “over engineered” with his swing, but he believes Woods can be fixed in 10 minutes.

“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to work on it, but the fix should be able to be explained in minutes,” Azinger told GolfChannel.com. “And then you work on it. You dig it out of the ground yourself.”

Azinger, a 12-time PGA Tour winner whose victories include the 1993 PGA Championship, said he was “a little surprised” Monday that Woods announced he was splitting from Sean Foley as his swing coach while still injured.

“But it doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do,” Azinger said. “It’s pretty obvious the success he was having on the range with Sean wasn’t transferring to the course. Tiger detractors think it’s Sean Foley, and Tiger lovers say it’s Tiger’s back.”

What does Azinger think?

“Foley is a great coach, and he’s had a lot of success, but the combination of he and Tiger together just wasn’t great,” Azinger said. “Saying that, Tiger won five times last year. I think he won in spite of. Tiger finished last in fairways hit and won at Bay Hill.”

Azinger believes Woods’ swing doesn’t require yet another overhaul.



“Tiger doesn’t need to revamp or rework anything but his head and his thought process,” Azinger said. “Really, in the end, great players don’t miss it left. They figure out how not to hook it. They figure out how not to miss it left. When you know you can miss it left, you miss it to the right. That’s simple.

“Tiger’s got a two-way miss. He’s got to have somebody stand there and show him quickly, either physically, by putting his hands on him, or by talking him into not hitting it left anymore. I don’t think you physically have to put your hands on him. You just talk to him about the mental aspect of not hitting it left.”

Azinger said he has no insight into what Woods is going to do about his swing now, but Woods’ history suggests he will find another coach.

“He’s never been on his own,” Azinger said. “I don’t know if he trusts himself to do it on his own.”

Azinger believes today’s instruction has become unnecessarily technical and complicated. He believes the right swing coach will help Woods quickly.

“I would say this to Tiger Woods: `If you work with anybody who doesn’t have you hitting it really, really well in one day, you need to leave that guy. He’s giving you bad information ... unless you want another overhaul.’”

After leaving Butch Harmon in 2003, Woods overhauled his swing under Hank Haney. Four years ago, Woods did the same after going to work with Foley.

Before last month’s British Open, Azinger said he believed Woods had altered the “fingerprints” of his swing by overhauling it so often.

“Tiger has made astronomical changes in a quest to get better,” Azinger said last month. “As a result, Tiger has actually gotten a little bit worse. I think we can all pretty much see that.”

In Azinger's study of the swing, he has come to believe there are fewer fundamentals than most instructors teach.

“There are only three things great players have done the same with their swing, the three fundamentals,” Azinger said. “That’s physically. There’s a mental side. Of the three physical things, Tiger has lost track of one, and he’s got to fix it. It’s a very easy fix.”

What is it?

Azinger says he isn’t sharing that publicly, but he would tell Tiger Woods.

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."