‘Over the years, Tiger’s swing flaws took a damaging toll on his body. But his new swing looks fantastic.’
Of all the questions I’ve been asked by golf fans during the past few years, the most common has been, “Do you think Tiger is finished?” Each time, I replied that, in my authoritative and trusted opinion, he was done and dusted… for sure! I mean, let’s face it, we have never seen a star athlete come back to compete at the highest level following an extended break from their sport. It just doesn’t happen.
As we all know, Tiger hasn’t just had severe injuries to overcome, he’s also had to deal with the public disintegration of his image. In short, the odds of him making a successful return to the upper echelons of world golf accompanied by such mental and physical baggage were very slim.
All of which makes what Tiger achieved at the recent Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas all the more impressive. Granted, a limited field event played in a relaxed atmosphere over a generous, resortstyle layout is a far cry from the demands presented by a regular Tour event, but there was enough evidence to suggest Woods is on track to make a sustained and successful comeback.
Understandably, Woods looked a little tentative and anxious as he exposed his game to the millions of people watching around the world, but he visibly grew in stature over the four days to the point where his trademark steely-eyed glare had returned by Sunday afternoon. His driving was impressive, his iron play strong and his putting assured. The only question mark was his short game. He fluffed a couple of chips from the gnarly Bermuda grass but, in all fairness, so did several other players.
Most encouragingly, Tiger’s full swing looked fantastic. Throughout his career, Woods has always played with some technical flaws. Over the years, they have taken a damaging toll on his body, but his current coach Chris Como has him swinging in a more orthodox fashion. In my opinion, he has never swung it better. But don’t just take my word for it. On page 40, top coach Luther Blacklock reveals the key changes Woods has made to his swing. Tiger has gone back to basics to revamp his game – and that’s a lesson we can all learn. Enjoy the issue.