You can't buy his talent, but you can buy, learn or train to have nearly everything else that makes Tiger a one-namer in a two-name world including his repertoire of shots, unwavering grit and, yes, even a swimsuit-model wife. Already hitched? No problem. There's plenty more you can learn from Mr. Woods, like how to get in shape, how to spearfish (his favorite hobby) or how to grill the perfect burger (his favorite food). But enough talk. If you're going to be Tiger, you've got work to do.
SWING IT -- AND STING IT -- LIKE TIGER
If there's one shot that gives Tiger a distinct advantage over the field, especially in windy conditions or on bunker-pocked fairways (see the 2006 British Open), it's his "stinger," a modified punch shot that Tiger can hit up to 280 yards and with everything from pitching wedge to driver.
What Tiger does
For any punch shot, your hands must be in front of the club at impact to de-loft the face. Tiger does this by slightly bowing his left wrist toward the target at impact. Many players might hook from here, but Tiger turns his hips so quickly that his hands can't catch up, allowing him to power through without fear of snapping it left.
What you can do
1) Hit shots under a tree limb. By forcing yourself to keep the ball low, you'll groove the feeling of keeping your hands forward at impact and rotating your forearms.
2) Swing slowly into an impact bag. As you near impact, bow your left wrist slightly toward the target. Notice how this reduces your club's loft and squares the face.
BLAST FROM THE ROUGH
Consider this: Tiger is 151st in driving accuracy on Tour, but leads in greens in regulation at nearly 73 percent. The reason? His ability to hit powerful, towering long and mid-irons from the rough, especially at major venues.
What Tiger does
Tiger's long and lean build and strong upper body allow him to attack the ball from a steep angle with huge amounts of speed. This descending swing limits the contact between his clubhead and the grass he gets almost full distance and enough trajectory to stop the ball even with the reduced spin typical from the rough.
What you can do
You can't blast it from the rough without strength. Follow Tiger's lead and devote some of your free time to workouts in the gym.
Tiger's clubhead speed can be a disadvantage. It generates lots of spin, which makes distance control tough on short approaches. Early in his career, Tiger's wedges often landed stiff but then spun away from the hole. His solution: the dead-arm wedge.
What Tiger does
The dead-arm is a regular swing with reduced hand and clubhead speed that generates less spin. Tiger makes a more modestwrist cock and minimizes the release of his hands after impact. He also shortens his swing back and through. Tiger can control the speed of his body turn (with a modest release of the club) to generate exact distances.
From impact to finish, Tiger's right arm moves about one foot but his hips open fully. Notice the slight separation of his left elbow from his left side. This slows down his clubhead through impact yet still allows his forearms to roll and release (toe of the club pointing up).
What you can do
1) Swing your hands only waist high back and through.
2) Firm up your wrists.
3) Control your shot distance by increasing or decreasing your body and hand speed.
4) Finish by rotating your forearms slightly.
Tiger is physically built for speed, but he's also fearless. Those two things equal one of the fastest -- yet most rhythmic -- swings on the planet.
What Tiger does
What you can do
Swing a weighted club, such as the PowerStik ($80; powerstik.com). Set up in a solid, athletic stance with your feet shoulder width apart. Next, swing the weighted club to the top and check to see that you're properly set up over your right leg and solidly supporting the club over your right shoulder. Now aggressivelyswing the weighted club to a full and balanced finish over your left shoulder to that perfectly balanced position you see Tiger in after every shot. Repeat this drill 20-25 times daily and you should soon notice a substantial increase in both your clubhead speed and your ability to swing the club in balance.
Why Tiger's favorite color might (or might not) work for you
Tiger wears red on Sundays because the color means good luck in Thailand, his mother's native country. But there's more to red than that. As the color of fire and blood, red is associated with energy, war, strength and power. It's also linked with energy, so it's often used to promote energy drinks and sports products. Plus, says color expert Lietrice Eiseman, Tiger is partial to red because of its vibrancy, and people in vibrant colors, she says, come across as powerful. But red doesn't work for everybody. So if it doesn't flatter your coloring, Eiseman says, "a vibrant blue is an alternative for looking powerful. It worked for the men in Braveheart."
HOW TO TONE UP LIKE TIGER
Katherine Roberts, the golf fitness expert at Hank Haney Golf, suggests the following moves to get Tiger-sized strength and tone. If these upper body exercises don't quite Tigerize you, they will certainly help you play better.
The wood chop
Swing benefit: Repeats the movement pattern from the top of your backswing to impact.
What you'll need: Resistance tubing; a door.
How to do it: Place resistance tubing in a door hinge and position your right shoulder perpendicular to door. Bring your left hand to the tubing and then place your right hand over the left. Slightly bend your knees, then take and hold a breath while flexing your abdominal muscles. Exhale, and pull the tubing down and across your body, bringing the cable to the outside of your opposite hip.
Repeat: 10 to 15 times and switch sides.
One arm row
Swing benefit: Strengthens your shoulders, increases power off the tee.
How to do it: Standing in a lunge position or kneeling with one leg on a bench, flex your abs and flatten your back (briefly taking and holding a breath). While holding a 10-pound weight, extend your right arm, feeling the stretch in your back and shoulders. Exhale, and pull your arm back in line with your body. Squeeze your arm against your body and hold for an additional two seconds. Then extend the lower part of your right arm back, focusing on the tricep. Hold for two more seconds.
Repeat: 15 times and switch sides
Standing chest opener with club
Swing benefit: Improves posture and shoulder turn; stretches the pectorals (chest muscles) and biceps
How to do it: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and pull your navel towards your spine, stabilizing your trunk. (Note: Do not arch your back.) Bring your hands behind your back and grip your club. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation, lift your arms focusing on the stretch in your chest. Maintain an upright posture position. Return to the starting position.
Repeat: 5 to 10 times.
Forearm speed drill
Swing benefit: More clubhead speed and more feel in your short game
How to do it: Extend your right arm to shoulder height. Flex your wrist toward you with the back of your hand facing you. Open and close your fist as quickly as possible for 30 seconds. Rest for one minute. Repeat: Three times, then switch sides.
Front Raises to side raises
Swing benefit: More distance and clubhead speed
How to do it: Start out holding 10-pound weights (work your way up to 20 pounds), then, balancing on one foot, slightly and internally rotate your arms, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. The backs of your hands will face the ceiling. Pull your navel towards your spine and slightly hinge forward at the hips. Maintaining a slight bend in your arms, lift them in front of your body to shoulder height.
Side raises: Lift your arms to the side and to shoulder height.
Repeat: 10 times to the front and side.
HOW TO MARRY A BIKINI MODEL
Before Elin was Tiger's wife, the ex-nanny was a bikini model. We asked Victoria's Secret's Tori Praver for tips on landing a bombshell.
Approaching a model would be the scariest part, so rate these pickup lines on a scale of 1-10, from cheesy to charming. "Are you from Tennessee, because you're the only 10 I see." Oh, man. That's a 1.
"Your hair and my pillow are perfectly color coordinated." [Laughs.] I'll give it a 2.
"Is your father a mechanic, because you've got one finely tuned body?" Minus-12! Here's one I just heard: "Your legs must be tired because you've been running through my mind all night." Cheesy lines do not work. They're fake. Girls want a guy who's real and genuine. When approaching a beautiful woman, a simple, confident "Hi" is fine.
That's all it takes? It helps to set yourself apart. Models are used to hearing, "You're so beautiful." So be creative. Say, if you're in a bar and you see a gorgeous girl, you could write out tic-tactoe lines on a napkin, write an "X" and "It's your move," and have a waitress send it over. That would get a girl's attention because it's playful and unusual.
LOOKING THE PART
We asked Paul Ekman, a facial expression expert at University of California-San Francisco, to analyze Tiger's game face.
What's going on in Tiger's face? "I call this a look of intense intention, but there's also intense concentration and determination. All three show the same signs in the face. The eyes are extremely focused, they're wide open, and there's little else in his face because the eyes dominate."
How would this look help him beat his opponents before he even hits a shot? "What's intimidating to his opponents is that he's so totally focused and determined about what he wants. No distraction, no humor, no relaxation."
Can you affect Tiger's game face? "You can't simulate that look. You have to become intensely concentrated and determined and then the look will emerge. It's all in the mind; just think of what's happening and what you need to do at the very moment, not what happened before or what could happen after."
HOW TO BE TOUGH TO BEAT
Nobody in the game is more mentally intimidating than Tiger. Here's how he learned to focus and how you can, too.
Earl Woods would deliberately throw tees in front of his son while he was swinging, or he'd jingle change in his backswing. It made Tiger angry, but it was great training for concentration.
Drill on the course
Our resident golf psychologist, Dick Coop, Ph.D., offers this practice situation to simulate what Earl did for Tiger:
Play a game called two ball-worst ball. Hit two shots every time and play your worst one. So if you make a 30-foot putt, it doesn't count until you play it again and hole the second attempt, too. This drill creates frustration and tension, and it's a fantastic way to create the sort of tension that requires the most from your ability to focus.
Okay, you did all the work and here you are! You've become Tiger Woods! Now let Tiger impersonator Mark Taborn (an actor and 22 handicap) tell you how to deal with your newfound celebrity, and what to do when...
...you get bombarded for autographs: Set a time limit for how long you're willing to spend signing and tell your security. They'll time you and pull you away when the limit's up. That way you don't look like the bad guy.
...the paparazzi are following: Goofy outfits and disguises are too recognizable. You've got to trick them. For example, when you leave your house, you and a friend should go in two cars and they won't know which one to follow.
...you shake hands: I give the guys a nice, firm handshake but the women always want a hug. Kids love high-fives and I'll bend down on one knee to meet the shy kids.
...you get asked these questions:
Tiger, are you going to win the Grand Slam in 2007? I hope so. I plan on being focused and having my game ready.
Tiger, what's the real story with you and Phil? We compete against each other in a competitive game but I leave the game on the course when I'm not playing. We're good buddies.
Tiger, can I have your golf clubs? Sure, you can have these and I'll get new ones.
Tiger, will you play with me in my member-guest? I'd love to but it depends on my schedule. Check with my agent and if I'm available it's a possibility.
HOME SWEET $38-MILLION HOME
Meet Tiger Woods's new neighbor -- Tiger Woods
In 2005, Woods paid $38 million for a 10-acre Jupiter Island, Fla., compound that stretches from the Atlantic to the Intracoastal Waterway. But it seems this waterfront fortress, which already includes four homes, two docks for his yacht, a golf hole, plus basketball and tennis courts, wasn't big enough. In late August, Woods paid $6.5 million for a two-bedroom, four-bath home on an oceanfront parcel next door. The new purchase squares off his total property, creating about 12 acres of prime oceanfront land. Word is Woods intends to tear down the house on his new 1.7-acre property so he can start from scratch.
Wanna be his neighbor?
If you're shopping for digs along this 17-milelong island village which Perry Como, Celine Dion, Greg Norman and Burt Reynolds have at one point called home there's currently a 9,617-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bath home available at the bargain price of $15.9 million. Condos are available starting at about $500,000.
Filling your bag with Tiger's woods (and irons) won't be cheap (about $2,400), but what the hell, at least no one will confuse you with that guy who plays KroFlites. Here's a peek inside Tiger's bag.
|Driver||Nike SasQuatch 460cc||8.5 degrees||$359|
|Fairway Woods||Nike Ignite T60 3 Woods |
Nike T40 5 Wood*
|15 degrees |
Not in stores
|Irons||Nike Forged Irons (2-PW)||1-degree upright, D4 swingweight, standard size Tour Velvet grips and True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100 shafts||3-PW, $999; 2-iron, $125|
|Wedges||Nike Pro Combo SW |
Flatback TW LW
|56 degrees |
|Putter||Scotty Cameron by Titleist Studio Stainless Newport 2||Standard loft and lie, 35 inches long||$300|
|Ball||Prototype Nike One Platinum||He only uses "1s" with "Tiger" printed on them||$54 per dozen|
|*Tiger will put his 5-wood or 2-iron in the bag depending upon the course setup and conditions.|
Tiger on his favorite club in his bag "All 14 are my favorites. If they are not my favorites, they are not in the bag."
Tiger says his biggest indulgence is kicking back on Privacy, his $20 million, 155-foot yacht. With three decks, six staterooms and quarters for a crew of nine on board, we can understand why. You might not have your own cruise ship docked outside, but rentingone for a week is the next best thing. A typical mid-priced charter will run you $17,500 a week for an 80-foot yacht. If you want to step it up, the world's most expensive charter--the 280-foot "Annaliesse"--will run you $5,000 an hour, or $840,000 a week.
To charter your own boat, try International Yacht Collection, 954-522-2323, yachtcollection.com
THE EYE OF THE...
To get closer to his laser putting, trash your specs and zap the weakness out of your eyes like Tiger did with laser eye surgery. The laser putter himself has said that since the surgery, "both the hole and the ball look bigger." For more info, visit lasikinstitute.org
Time: 1-3 days recovery time
When he's not glowering, Tiger has a killer smile, flashing a set as white-as-the-longdriven snow. Maybe it's natural... maybe it's BriteSmile, the so-called "best and brightest tooth whitening system in the world." In the gift bags at the 2004 ESPY Awards, where Woods was a presenter, a BriteSmile certificate was included in the swag. You, too, can get your not-so-pearly-whites up to 14 shades lighter in one hour by visiting a BriteSmile Spa or checking with your dentist.
Cost: $600 per visit, britesmile.com
HOW TO SPEARFISH
It's no wonder Tiger calls spearfishing his favorite hobby the fish don't ask for his autograph. "It's quiet down there," he says.
Make it your hobby, too. According to Tony Grogan, owner of Spearfishing magazine, start with freedive spearfishing (no certifications required).
The key: learning to hold your breath. Grogan says Tiger improved his lung capacity by taking Kirk Krack's Performance Freedive Course (performancefreediving.com). To learn more, visit spearboard.com.
HIS HAPPY MEAL
How to whip up the classic cheeseburger
To grill your own, steal this 100-year-old recipe from P.J. Clarke's, voted one of NYC's best burgers by New York magazine. Start with 6 oz. of 100% chuck ground beef, a slice of American cheese and a soft bun. Cook patty on griddle at 450 degrees for four minutes on each side, melting the cheese on top. Garnish with dill spear, beefsteak tomato and iceberg lettuce.