Fa­tigue is Tiger’s big is­sue

Ma­jor champ Faldo pleased to see him back, but he does have reser­va­tions

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN pic­tured.

WHILE South Africa will go “gaga” over Rory McIl­roy when he tees up at the SA Open at Glen­dower from Thurs­day, the rest of the golf­ing world is wait­ing to see what Tiger Woods will do in 2017.

The mul­ti­ple ma­jor win­ner re­turned to the game at the end of last year and is al­ready ready to tee up again at the start of 2017, fol­low­ing more than a year out of the game fol­low­ing back surgery. Woods has had to tweak a few el­e­ments of his swing to com­pen­sate for the bad back and in­juries that have robbed him of a healthy body and play­ing time and this, more than any­thing else, will be what en­sures his re­turn is suc­cess­ful or not in the com­ing months.

That’s the opin­ion of for­mer mul­ti­ple ma­jor win­ner and now fa­mil­iar TV broad­caster Sir Nick Faldo, who’s in SA to pro­mote his and friend Ernie Els’ am­a­teur com­pe­ti­tion, the Friend­ship Cup, and play in the SA Open this week. He’s also seen Woods stum­ble, fall, crawl and get up over the last num­ber of years.

“It’s great to see Tiger back in golf ... that’s what makes the game so great isn’t it; you al­ways want to keep try­ing, be­liev­ing you can do it,” said Faldo,

“But Tiger’s got some big is­sues; fa­tigue be­ing the big­gest one. He’s got to work out how he’s go­ing to play when his back gets tired. It’s go­ing to change his swing ... it al­ready has be­cause he’s ob­vi­ously com­pen­sat­ing for his back.

“The big thing for him is he has to get out there and play and find out what hap­pens when his body gets tired, be­cause if your body’s tired and it tight­ens up and you want to still be com­pet­i­tive you’ve got to find a way.

“The re­al­ity is Tiger can’t play the way he did 10 years ago, so he’s go­ing to have to find a way to make it work for him when he starts feel­ing tired. I’m glad to see he’s en­tered a few tour­na­ments. ”

But while Woods has a long way to go to get back to the top of the game, McIl­roy, Jor­dan Spi­eth, Ja­son Day, Dustin John­son, Hen­rik Sten­son and Co are all poised to en­joy an­other good year.

“It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing game isn’t it? All th­ese boys ... when they’re all on, you can flip a coin (to pick a win­ner), but ev­ery­one has a weak­ness,” said Faldo, when asked who of the young gen­er­a­tion has im­pressed him most over the last few years.

“So, when that weak­ness rears its ugly head; be it a phys­i­cal is­sue, or a tech­ni­cal one, or whether it’s men­tal ... if one of those three el­e­ments which I re­gard as the most im­por­tant to play­ing good golf, is just a tweak out, then you won’t be fir­ing on all cylin­ders.

“That’s all it takes, and win­ning and be­ing in top form, de­pends on who can cope with it the best ... that is when those weak­nesses creep into your game.

“When th­ese guys are on, they’re amaz­ing, they’ve taken golf to an­other level ... golf is in a great place.”

But, Faldo also says he’s wor­ried about how much the game has changed since the me­tal driver was in­tro­duced, hav­ing re­placed the wooden driver.

“If I could change one thing it would be the driver. It’s changed the whole game. If we didn’t have me­tal woods we wouldn’t have an is­sue with the ball. There was a time when driv­ing the ball was a real skill, there were only half a dozen guys out there who were re­ally good drivers; now there are 199 great drivers, guys who with a half de­cent swing hit it 280m.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.