Tiger’s swing is like the weather: everybody talks about it; a lot of people think it should change.
One of them is British Open champion-turned-broadcaster Ian Baker-Finch who, in an interview with Reuters, offered some throwback counsel for the world’s number-one.
The upshot? Tiger, heal thyself.
Rather than focus on long range sessions and mechanical minutiae with Sean Foley, Baker-Finch said, Woods should spend a month working on his own, playing alone every day on a more intuitive search for the old magic.
“Tiger has issues with his swing. He keeps blaming his putting, but it’s not his putting (that is the problem), it is his swing, and he needs to sort that out,”” Baker-Finch said.
In two events this season, Woods has struggled, missing the Saturday cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego and finishing 41st at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Finch, who worked the Torrey event for CBS, ranks among the most diplomatic of commentators, rarely issuing a critical word. But he wasn’t thrilled with what he saw from Woods, and he said it’s time for Tiger to try a different tack.
“Tiger should shoot a score every day until his next tournament, not hit perfect shots on the range with Sean and TrackMan,” Baker-Finch said. “Just go play golf and enjoy getting it in the hole in the lowest number possible. I think that’s what he used to do when younger.”
Baker-Finch knows the pitfalls of getting too technical. After winning the British Open in 1991 at Royal Birkdale, the Australian went down the rabbit hole of swing thoughts, a grim, bewildering place from which he never fully emerged.
Tiger’s not there. Not even close. But, as Baker-Finch said, “It’s obvious something is not right.”
He added: “He might go win Bay Hill by 10 shots again and two or three others on courses where he feels comfortable, but there was a time a decade or so ago when he was top-three every time he played.”
Those days are gone. And though Baker-Finch believes that Tiger is “still capable of being number one in the world for another five years,” it is “not the same Tiger we saw from 1999 to 2007.” By year’s end, Baker-Finch said, he expects his countryman Adam Scott to supplant Woods at the top of the world-rankings.
“He has no flaws. He’s quite capable of overtaking Tiger this year. All the stars are aligned seemingly. Who apart from Adam is going to be number one at the end of the year? Maybe Rory McIlroy, but I think he’s still in a little bit of a search. I don’t think he’s on top of his game yet, even though he’s coming back. He shot 74 (in the final round in Dubai) and finished ninth, so he still has issues.”