The latest Tiger Woods swing video surfaced Tuesday, with Woods hitting shots at a clinic at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. To be fair, Woods appeared to be swinging at less than full speed and was in a casual, low-stress setting, but it was still our first real look at his swing since the Quicken Loans media day in May. What are the takeaways? We shared the video with four of our Top 100 Teachers and asked for their armchair analysis. Here were four of their observations:
1. HE'S MORE 'ARMSY' THAN EVER
"What I see is Woods is swinging more with his right hand and arm on his downswing," says Bill Moretti of Austin Golf Club. "There is less emphasis on him trying to trap or compress the ball. Letting the right hand and arm square the club allows him to do four things:
1) Create more speed
2) Keep his arms in front of his torso on the forward swing
3) Keep more height through the shot; you'll note his right elbow straightens as it goes through the ball, which should improve his driving accuracy
4) Put less wear and tear on his body
"This is pretty dramatic change from how he used to swing the club, which means it may take time to work under pressure on the course," Moretti adds. "In my opinion, it is a good move for him, given his age and injuries."
2. HE'S TRYING TO TAKE STRESS OFF HIS BODY
Jim Murphy, of Sugar Creek Country Club in Texas, agreed with Moretti. "It looks to me like Tiger is swinging more with his arms and not as much with his body," Murphy said. "Tiger has always played great when he can shape his shots on command. I think by using his arms more he can shape his shots a little better and take any stress off of his body. With back and knee issues in the past anything Tiger can do to keep strain and pressure off the body the better. A little more upright arm swing takes the stress off his back and knees and by changing the direction of his arm swing he can hit draws and fades with ease. He may not have the power and the distance he once had but without stress to his body I think he can hit all the shots he needs to be able to win again."
3. HE'S STILL GOING TO FIGHT BLOCKS AND HOOKS
Steve Bosdosh, of Four Streams in Beallsville, Md., offered a slightly less optimistic assessment: "The lower part of his body ‘outraces' the upper part of his body, which can lead the arms and club to drop too far under plane. That can result in the club ‘exiting' a little high, with the upper part of his left arm coming off his chest. This will lead to some blocks right and big hooks left. It really looks like he is protecting his back still."
4. HE CAN WIN AGAIN WITH THIS SWING
"I love the early move he's making into his right side -- it looks dramatically better than the last 10 years," says Jason Carbone, of Baltusrol. "I thought the high shot he hit last looked the best and hope he hits a million of those in practice. The only concern I have is when you register on Friday and withdraw on Monday -- that seems more like a lack of trust and belief than health or technique. He seems to have spent time on his health and technique, and now he can spend time on the mental side necessary to take his practice into competition. Tiger had more control over his mind than maybe anyone ever, and he can do it again. When he does, I believe he can win again with that swing."