Tiger must prove he is over chip­ping yips: Jack­lin

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: For­mer world num­ber one Tiger Woods must prove he has over­come the “chip­ping yips” in or­der to fully chal­lenge golf’s elite again, ac­cord­ing to dou­ble ma­jor cham­pion Tony Jack­lin.

Amer­i­can Woods, 40, made his come­back af­ter an ab­sence of al­most 16 months caused by chronic back prob­lems to fin­ish 15th in an elite 17-man field at last week’s Hero World Chal­lenge in the Ba­hamas.

“I thought it was a promis­ing re­turn by Tiger,” Jack­lin told Reuters in a tele­phone in­ter­view from his Florida home. “It must have been a bit daunt­ing for him af­ter all that time away.

“One com­ment from Golf Chan­nel an­a­lyst Bran­del Cham­blee at­tracted my at­ten­tion. I know he’s a bit out­spo­ken at times but he talks a lot of sense as well.

“Bran­del main­tains he’s not seen any­body re­ally come back from the chip­ping yips,” said Jack­lin. “He cherry-picked a num­ber of sit­u­a­tions from the four days in the Ba­hamas where Tiger had del­i­cate shots he didn’t do well with.

“If he’s ever go­ing to get back to the level of be­ing able to win on the PGA Tour, never mind a ma­jor, there’s no room for a weak­ness.”

The roller-coaster na­ture of Woods’s form was sharply il­lus­trated by the fact that he led the tour­na­ment with birdies (24) and dou­ble-bo­geys (six).

While he showed flashes of the bril­liant golf he pro­duced in ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 14 ma­jor ti­tles, he also de­liv­ered the in­ept, of­ten find­ing sandy waste ar­eas off the tee or with ap­proach shots.

“His putting was sound, he hit the ball nicely and his swing looks fine,” said Jack­lin, win­ner of the 1969 Bri­tish Open and 1970 US Open.

“He also looks fit­ter but if there’s a chink in his ar­mour go­ing for­ward it’s go­ing to make things dif­fi­cult.

“With the putting yips you can go to a long put­ter, as long as you don’t an­chor it, but you can’t do that with chip­ping yips,” added Jack­lin, an am­bas­sador for the 2017 farm­foods Bri­tish Par 3 Cham­pi­onship from Aug. 8-11 (british­par3.com).

“Chris Couch won the 2006 Zurich Clas­sic of New Or­leans. He over­came them in that event by chip­ping left hand be­low right and then dis­ap­peared off the scene, that’s the only ex­am­ple I’ve seen of some­one who had chip­ping yips and ad­justed his grip.” PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CALLY DAM­AG­ING

Jack­lin, the most suc­cess­ful Euro­pean Ry­der Cup cap­tain of all time with two wins and one tie from his four matches in charge be­tween 1983-89, knows how psy­cho­log­i­cally dam­ag­ing the putting yips can be to a player.

He strug­gled on the greens at the back end of his ca­reer and, even now, when he plays for fun, can­not bring him­self to use a con­ven­tional put­ter.

“When you yip you get into out­comes rather than stay­ing in the stroke,” said the 72-year-old English­man. “You start won­der­ing where the ball is go­ing to end up and you can’t do that, the mind has got to be in the here and now.

“When you’ve had a few chip­ping yips, and Tiger re­ally did be­cause it was for a few weeks in a row, it was noth­ing to do with his back it was some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

“It’s eas­ier said than done in terms of fix­ing it. There’s no hid­ing place for him, it’s hard for him just to shrug things off be­cause he cares so much,” said Jack­lin.

“He wouldn’t be com­ing back un­less he cared. Some­times you care too much and you don’t en­joy it be­cause of that, that’s when you put more pres­sure on your­self and you get into this out­comeover-ex­e­cu­tion sit­u­a­tion.”

Jack­lin reg­u­larly criss-crossed the At­lantic dur­ing his play­ing days and, to­wards the end of his ca­reer, found it tough to meet high ex­pec­ta­tions on home soil.

“I putt with a long put­ter now and I hold it away from my ch­est,” he said. “I don’t putt very well but I don’t care be­cause I only play char­ity events and cor­po­rate days.

“I’ve been hu­mil­i­ated of­ten enough over the years us­ing a short put­ter so I’m not go­ing there again. A lot of peo­ple have had it, Sam Snead, Ben Ho­gan and oth­ers, it’s not un­usual.

“In my case it man­i­fested it­self when I was in the U.K. play­ing in front of Bri­tish crowds, they ex­pected me to win with one arm tied be­hind my back and I was try­ing harder than I was ca­pa­ble of and that made things worse.

“Tiger has to be care­ful. I’m sure he wants to show the world he’s back and win a tour­na­ment but the more you want that, the more you put pres­sure on the weaker ele­ments of your game.”

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