How Tiger Cured the Yips

Tiger: Cured! Top teach­ers weigh in on how he over­came the chip­ping yips

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents - in­ter­viewed by matthew rudy

Top teach­ers ex­plain how Tiger got his short game back.

stan ut­ley

“When Tiger got in trou­ble with his chip­ping, he tended to let the han­dle move too wide in the back­swing. When that hap­pens, the head isn’t re­ally swing­ing; you’re mov­ing the whole stick to­gether. Then if you ac­cel­er­ate the grip to start the down­swing, you bring the grip through im­pact first, which ruins the engi­neer­ing of the club. In the swings I see now, the club is set­ting ear­lier and re­leas­ing ear­lier, and he’s us­ing the bounce. When you use the bounce, the lies don’t be­come scary. You’re hit­ting the turf with the back of the wedge and skid­ding. You want to land the plane shal­low and on the back wheels.”

randy smith

“It’s ab­so­lutely amaz­ing to me what he’s done to re­cover—a to­tal trans­for­ma­tion. You can call it re­lease point, rust or what­ever, but there was some­thing yippy go­ing on. He was lit­er­ally play­ing away from his wedges. But as the great­est player in the world might do, he fig­ured out some­thing dif­fer­ent—a dif­fer­ent feel, a dif­fer­ent way to ap­proach it, a slight grip change. Any­thing to feel less ac­tion in his hands. That’s fine in prac­tice, but he’s now do­ing great on the real stage. His short game is back. He still has the yips. In the back of his head, they’re still there. But for now, the change is a warm blan­ket.”

hank haney

“Every­body wanted to see what kind of swing speed Tiger was go­ing to have when he came back from the spinal-fu­sion surgery, but I re­ally be­lieved the ob­vi­ous short- game is­sues he had would pre­vent him from com­ing back in any real way if he couldn’t fig­ure them out. He’s ob­vi­ously found some­thing in a tech­nique change that’s been work­ing—to a de­gree—and that’s great. You still see some of those strange shots ev­ery once in a while. That’s his re­al­ity now. You can have some good stretches, but when you have the yips, they’re in there. It’s just a mat­ter of how you try to man­age them.”

david lead­bet­ter

“Tiger didn’t have the chip­ping yips be­cause of a men­tal is­sue. It was phys­i­cal. He had the shaft lean­ing too far for­ward, and the lead­ing edge was dig­ging. You can get away with that on cer­tain types of grass, but many times the grass would grab the club­head and cause it to stub. If you don’t cor­rect that, you could end up with a full-blown case of the men­tal chip­ping yips, but he cor­rected the is­sue. His right hand is much more in­volved in the shot. The club re­leases and glides along the grass. It’s a much more ef­fec­tive way to chip. And with his hand- eye co­or­di­na­tion, he can be as great as ever that way.”

mike adams

“Tiger had bad chip­ping fun­da­men­tals that ex­posed the lead­ing edge in­stead of the bounce—not the yips. He took it back too wide, which shut the face, and he dragged the han­dle through the shot. That cre­ated too much shaft lean—some­thing he had been try­ing to do in his full swing—and it leaked into his short game. I can’t think of an­other player who had that hap­pen like that, but who else has been as will­ing to change swings? Now he’s set­ting the club sooner, let­ting his right arm fold, re­leas­ing it bet­ter and us­ing the bounce. Right-hand- only drills helped him a lot. He once again is an awe­some wedge player.”

dave stock­ton

“Tiger has al­ways used his right hand a lot more on those shots than I do, as op­posed to let­ting the left hand con­trol the ac­tion. He uses his hands as a unit, but when that right hand takes over, that’s when the club starts dig­ging. I was sur­prised to see that be­come his prob­lem be­cause he was al­ways so great at those shots. When you strug­gle, it can get dif­fi­cult fast be­cause you start try­ing too hard to fix the prob­lem and then you lose your feel. But now, he seems to be swing­ing much more free. He’s got it back in the groove. Maybe what he needed was some time to work on his game.”

james sieck­mann

“Imag­ine if you’ve been amaz­ing at some­thing your whole life, and you never had to think about how to do it. Then all of a sud­den, when you tried to do it, it didn’t work. Tiger was think­ing the same things he al­ways had, but he didn’t get the same re­sult. He was con­fused. His setup had got­ten so dif­fer­ent, with his head be­hind the ball and his shoul­ders closed. He was in a po­si­tion where he couldn’t hit the ball first. A lot of peo­ple think he had the yips. He didn’t. Tiger had a bad mo­tor pat­tern. And when he found the right pat­tern again, it came back quickly—and so did his con­fi­dence.”

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