Is The Open Ready For Tiger

Tiger Woods is arguably the most famous name in Golf. And with 14 majors already under his belt, Wood’s return comes at a time as he breaks back into the top 100 and continues to improve.

Woods hasn’t teed up at the open since he missed the cut at St Andrew’s back in 2015, and despite his off-field problems and injuries we believe that sooner or later Woods will give us another glimpse of the man who took Golfing to a whole other level. Here at Fairweather we are looking forward to Carnoustie in circa 6 weeks’ time and today we are looking at the most famous “remodelled” golf swing in recent history.

FWG-Tiger(1)

Tiger at his peak in 2000

Back in 2000 when Woods won the PGA, The U.S Open and then the Open at St Andrews without hitting over 69 in any round, he played some exceptional Golf. In doing so, he achieved a career Grand Slam at age 24, two years younger than Jack Nicklaus was when he did it.  That year his performances were more than just Golf, some people referred to them as entertainment.

Fast forward to 2018 following a barrage of injuries Tiger has made some changes to his swing. Whilst he has always had exemplary fundamentals (little has changed in that department over the years), He keeps a solid base and a neutral grip, learned as a young kid working with his dad.

Changing his swing to protect his back.

If you watch stills of Tiger over the years his posture remains quite similar. He tilts from the hips with a light knee flex and his body is parallel to the target line. However, the one fundamental change is that his arms are know closer to his body than in 2000. Crucially it means there is less shoulder tilt than in 2000.

In addition, you will notice how Tiger’s swing has changed because the angle of the shaft has changed here. He is standing closer to the ball now and as a result the club is working on a much steeper plane in the backswing. His 2000 swing is undoubtedly that of a young man keen on giving the ball a good rip.

Hip movement becomes even more crucial.

The key element to compare here is his hip movement. The basic principle is that at the top of the backswing you need resistance. That means you need your upper body to turn more than your lower body. The difference in the angle of your torso versus that of your hips is what creates a lot of power in the downswing – this is resistance. But, and this is crucial, you still need a reasonable amount of hip turn to create the full upper body rotation you are looking for.

Tiger’s hips rotated much further in 2000 than they do today. This facilitated a bigger upper body rotation and made his swing one of the most powerful on Tour. Now his hip rotation is noticeably restricted and as such the swing is shorter. More importantly, when you watch it in motion his 2017 swing has a lot less flow and freedom about it. This is down to the mobility of his body.

Changes in power.

Back in 2000, Tiger’s swing was smooth and powerful. His arm placement was one of the reasons he was so good at shaping shots. Now the transition is much less smooth. As he starts the downswing there is a lowering of the body and a forward thrust of the hips as he is probably protecting the back.

Tiger Woods swing sequence downtarget PGA Golf: 2015 Players Championship Friday -round 2 TPC Sawgrass/Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 5/8/2015 X159568 TK4 Credit: Fred Vuich

It is through impact where the effects of the subtle differences at address and the changes to the swing itself become most clearly visible. The extra rotation in the backswing gave him more speed through the hitting area but crucially, in 2000 there was a better connection between his arms and body. This gave him both power and accuracy. When looking at how Tiger’s swing has changed his body outruns his arms. This causes the club trail behind the body on the way down so his arms must play catch up through the strike and the results become a lot less predictable.

There is no doubt that back in 2000, Tiger knew how to win, and we do hope that we see him win again.

With the Open just around the corner we will be exploring the various swings of the Open participants. So, keep checking back on our Facebook page and website as we look at more each week.

Remodel your own swing.

Remodelling a swing is nothing new, coaches have been trying this for years. However, at Fairweather Golf our Pro’s use the RoboGolfPro to look not just at your swing but your entire game, including, your strengths, your limitations and your goals. This allows us to gather huge sources of data that we can use to create a new swing. In most cases for the average golfer a change in swing is explored to improve their game, but if, like Tiger, you find new limitations in your game (due to injury, or decreased flexibility) we can work with that. If you just want to extend your golf career by a few more years why not come and see what we can do for you? To learn more about us click here