A return to a key fundamental tells me Tiger is almost back

To hit a stinger like Tiger, shown here at the 2002 PGA Championship, try to get the shaft and your left arm to match the positions they held at address.

Slowly but surely, Tiger is showing signs that he’s capable of recapturing his dominating form. He still has some chinks in his armor and his putting isn’t as consistent as it once was, but I’m picking up on a few things that, if Tiger sticks to them, will give him a good shot to pass Jack Nicklaus in the major victories column.

Forget for the moment about the fundamental differences among the swings impressed upon Tiger by his former and current coaches. They don’t matter. What does is Woods’s ability to hit key positions — regardless of method or theory — that have proved successful for him in the past. In my opinion, it’s a return to the impact arrangements that made his stinger shot one of the most effective weapons in golf history. (The fact that he’s hitting his stinger consistently proves he’s moving in the right direction.) The most important of these is lining up the shaft with his left arm when he strikes the ball and keeping this alignment intact until the clubhead whips past his left leg.

Here’s what I mean: Notice at address how the clubshaft extends straight out from your left forearm. Good ballstrikers re-create this alignment at impact. The goal is to feel like the club is “growing” out of your left arm as you strike the ball. If you can hold this arrangement until the momentum of your swing causes your left arm to fold in your release, you’ll hit the ball straight and solidly.

Get a feel for this by developing a stinger swing like Tiger’s (shown at left). Think of it as a punch shot with a little extra oomph. When you make contact, try to get the shaft and your left arm to match the positions they held at address. It helps if you “stick” the club at impact. Then work on keeping your left arm and clubshaft in line until your swing moves past your left leg. You’ll develop some serious shotmaking skill and improve your swing, to boot.