Tiger Needs to Make the Call
by Jeff Skinner
It doesn’t get much uglier than that for the former world number one at The PGA Championship. And Tiger Woods couldn’t be any further from world number one than he was at the end of his round today. It was painful to watch Tiger play as poorly as he ever has. His three over 73 left him six clear of the cut line.
If this isn’t rock bottom for his golf game it has to be close. Forget all the explanations for swing plane, distance control, ball flight, fade, and draw, whatever. He hasn’t got a clue where his ball will end up.
We all have solutions for his fix and Tiger may do well to pick someone else’s plan because his Sean Foley experiment is a failure. Steven A. Smith says he needs to start carousing again. Maybe that will work but as far as his on course activity he needs something tried and true. Whether it’s from mental exhaustion, physical limitations or just a defective plan it’s not working.
Over the years Tiger has always referenced his father when he was in times of trouble on the course. He would draw on the words of Pops when he lost his stroke. Years of having his father try and distract him during his swing sharpened Tiger’s focus. If he was willing to look back into the past for something that worked he should be willing to try it again. After all, he doesn’t have much to lose.
Tiger had his most dominant years back in 2000-2001 when he won four straight majors. Butch Harmon was his coach and he swung at the ball with a unencumbered ferocity. He snapped that left leg and the ball exploded off his club. His stinger was longer and straighter than most player’s drivers. He could hit any green from anywhere. His short game was unmatched and he sank more clutch putts in a week than any ten of his competitors combined.
Today he missed the cut at the PGA Championship for the first time ever. Maybe he’s ready to go back to ground zero and rebuild what once was the most admired golfer of his era.
If his knee is as strong as he says it is and he is as healthy as he portrays he needs to add a little crow to his diet. Call Butch Harmon and start over again. He has plenty of time since he is out of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and not playing a professional event until the Australian Masters in November. He can quietly let Sean Foley go and hook up with his old guru again.
So the knee may take a beating if he reverts back but if he expects to win again, and win a major, he needs drastic changes. He can get a knee replacement when he’s fifty. Would he trade five majors for an artificial knee? Damn right he would.
Maybe a few months off, I mean really off will help. Forget working on the range for awhile. Go enjoy your life and kids. Clear out your head of two years of stress, frustration and swing thoughts. But then make the call. Call Harmon and start to rebuild the swing that dominated a generation of golf.