In case you’ve been living under a rock and somehow haven’t heard, Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters. It was a pretty big deal. The biggest deal, in fact.
Tiger, throughout the week, was iron clad from tee-to-green. A host of shots will live on in the memories of golf fans for years to come. To figure out how he did it, I talked to one of the biggest Tiger fans around: Bill Schmedes III, the Director of Instruction if Forsgate Country Club.
“If it wasn’t for Tiger, I don’t know if I’d be a golf teacher,” Schmedes said. “He made me want to get to the golf course.”
Watching Tiger get back into the major winner’s circle was one of the highlights of Schmedes’ life watching golf. He hit some great shots along the way. Here’s how…
1. Springing Drives
A day after his Masters win, we talked to instructor Mike Adams about the “squeeze fade” Tiger perfected throughout the week. The fade fits his eye, and Schmedes noted that his transition between backswing and downswing looked on-point all week.
“The way he’s transitioning now, he looks a lot more balanced,” Schmedes says. “After the club gets set, he’s got this fantastic first little linear move, gets into a squatting position, and uses the ground as a springboard to launch up.”
2. Recovery Draws
But of course, nobody can hit every fairway — not even Tiger. But one of the keys to Tiger’s victory was his ability to wiggle his way out of it, just like he did on the 11th hole on Sunday. With his ball right in the trees, Tiger hit a low draw under and around the trees, toward the green but short of the water. It’s a shot with little margin for error, but one Tiger pulled off expertly.
“You can see him put the ball back in his stance, close the face slightly and aim his foot line slightly more right,” Schmedes says. “He swings along his footline nice and smooth to make sure he gets the desired shape.”
3. Confident Putts
The beauty of golf is that, ultimately, it’s won and lost on the putting surface. Tiger was brilliant from tee-to-green, but it was his birdie- and par-saving putts that ultimately won him his fifth green jacket.
When Tiger’s stroke gets off, Schmedes says, it’s because he doesn’t release the putter head and blocks putts right of his intended line.
“Tiger’s rolling the ball the same way he was years ago. He’s back to releasing the putter more,” Schmedes says. “In his prime, he had a stroke in which there was a fair amount of arc and fair amount of release, and was repeating it very consistently.”
He certainly did on Masters Sunday.