Is Tiger Woods trimming down instead of bulking up this offseason?
Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee believes so.
Woods isn’t playing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week, but he was a big part of the conversation in an NBC/Golf Channel media conference call Wednesday, one that featured Chamblee, Johnny Miller, David Duval and Mark Rolfing.
“[Tiger] keeps alluding to the fact that he wants to go back and swing like he did in 2000, and who wouldn't?” Chamblee said. “He’s got to go back and have the body that he had in 2000. He needs to be more sinewy. Now, I've heard that he's lost a lot of weight, and I don't know if that's by design or by consequence, but, regardless, I think that's a step in the right direction.”
Chamblee said the uncertainty surrounding Woods shapes his story coming into the new year.
“For the first time ever, he's got more questions about him than he does obvious answers,” Chamblee said. “Will his body hold up, first of all? The number of times he's had his game interrupted since 2010 is double digits a year. So will his body hold up? Will he be able to successfully incorporate a new golf swing in a brief period of time? Because unlike his other changes, he doesn't really have that much time anymore to take advantage of whatever physical skills he still has. So can he do that? Can he overcome this issue that he's got with his driver? Can he overcome this issue that he had around the greens at the Hero?
“When you see anybody chip the way he did at the Hero Challenge, you don't just get rid of that in a week. I mean, imagine him trying to hit pitch shots off tight lies at Augusta National. That's scar tissue. So there's all of those concerns.”
Rolfing sees this as a pivotal season for Woods as he works with Chris Como as his new swing consultant.
“I believe that this is the most important year in the rest of Tiger Woods' career,” Rolfing said. “I think what you're going to see is his relationship with Chris Como is going to be totally different than the one he had with Butch [Harmon] or Hank [Haney] or Sean [Foley], and I think a lot of that is because Notah [Begay] played a big role in creating that relationship, which is going to be way more of a consultant than it is of a coach.”
Miller believes Woods’ confidence will grow as he grooves a powerful swing more like one from his youth.
“I think, like Mark said, it's really important that this sort of works,” Miller said. “I like that he's lost some weight, if that's the case. I haven't seen him, but he still hits the ball long, but he does have a lot of, like Brandel says, quite a bit of scar tissue. He doesn't forget anything. He's one of those guys that really remembers everything he does. He needs to get off to a good start, especially like at San Diego and these tournaments coming up, that he usually wins, when he was normal.
“Hopefully he can do that and build some confidence . . . You can't get confidence a little bit on the practice tee and practice grounds. You've got to do it when the bell rings. I'm pulling for him. I hope he does well. I think it would be good for golf.”
Duval sees Woods needing to do more than fashion a swing. He sees him needing to overcome obstacles that linger after injuries heal.
“Sounds like it's more of a restoration, trying to go back to what was successful in the past for him, but he's got to get beyond probably some lingering doubts about health,” Duval said. “Had so many problems over the last number of years, that some good golf, and a healthy body through that, would go a long ways for him maybe making a final push and chase towards Jack's record.”