July 16th, 2013

What will Tiger do next?

What will Tiger do next?  What he will do next we do not know. What he should do, is first sue Butch Harmon. Then sue Sean Foley. Butch should be held responsible for the exacerbation of his knee injury (see knee injury in the ‘walking the talk’ section of this blog). Sean for his recent elbow injury. Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 6.14.39 PM Incidentally, Sean is completely correct about not moving so much - it reduces a golfer’s margin for error. Weight shift, folks, is passe. See how Tiger Woods’ swing has evolved from that of his early coaches' to the present one. He has successfully cut out too much lateral movement - which is good. He has done so, however, without correct top-of-backswing joint positions - which is bad. A compact swing is truly ‘economy in motion’ as Bruce Lee might say - very important for an explosive power move. However, the more compact the moves, the less room there is for the poor-joint-position-compensatory-moves to be made!

 Screen shot 2011-05-13 at 7.10.14 PM

So, Sean Foley is right in theory, but wrong in practice. Here’s why: Screen shot 2013-07-13 at 5.26.21 PM From the top of this position, he must drop down (laterally flex) the entire trunk - vertebra by vertebra (a frontal plane move), while at the same time straightening his knee (a sagittal plane move), as he tries to rotate his body - lower body first, to produce speed and deliver the club to the ball from the inside. Not to mention that his right wrist extension (backward bend) will have put his right arm into internal rotation, which he will have to put into external rotation (so as to save his elbow) along the way. Now, he has to do all this in the 2/100th of a second he himself says the golf swing takes. EVERY move made from his top of backswing position onwards is his brain’s own way of finding a compensatory method for all these multiple joints to all untwist and un-bend, all together, in synchronization, and in the limited time of the downswing, to  present the club to the ball at maximum speed and from the inside. So, Sean’s brain has found a unique way to undo all the very many backswing moves he has made. Imagine his brain thinking, “I should drop the body down two and a half inches to bring the right side down, then I must make the hips rotate first, the shoulders next, I must make sure the wrists remain maximally lagged, and also I should try to put get right shoulder into external rotation so the right elbow does not arrive at the ball in a manner it cannot act efficiently from (ie a ‘valgus’ position). Sean’s student Tiger’s brain, has found its own unique compensatory mechanism to reverse all his less-than-ideal top-of-backswing positions, most especially the lifted right trunk. His brain drops his entire body vertically downwards. To compound this problem, the world of golf claims that such a movement is good, because it is like the counter-move-jump you might see a basketball player do. After you squat you can jump up higher, because as you squat your thigh muscles stretch, then can contract more powerfully while pushing up. In my opinion, the golf swing should have neither side-to-side movements (eg weight shift) nor up-and-down movements, they simply reduce the time within which a golfer must unbend and untwist a lot of stuff, while trying to make a merry-go-round-like pure transverse-plane body rotation. When you’re injury-riddled beyond bearing, and you’re embarrassed to be  hoping to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus while being the wimp your unknowing former pros have made you into - unable to use a driver - consider the Minimalist Golf Swing, Tiger.

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