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Crouching Tiger

How the game's once-dominant player is making his full swing & ball flight more consistent

July 2012

TOP OF THE SWING

You cannot analyze a golf swing with just two photos, but you can tell a lot from the right two. I love these pictures, taken this year at Pebble Beach. Tiger has the ball teed, but right on the ground, for his 3-wood stinger.

He has strengthened his left-hand grip--something that would benefit most amateurs--so the clubface is slightly closed, with the left wrist and left forearm flat. Tiger's left arm and shaft form a beautiful straight line. His left arm is pinned against his chest, slightly above the shoulder plane, and his shoulders have rotated around his spine at a 90- degree angle. His right arm is in a classic supporting position.

Tiger appears to have slightly more hip turn than in years past. He's clearly braced low and against the earth in a power position. I call this the X Factor. The new Tiger has his arms tied in closer to his pivot. The old Tiger's arms were farther from his body.

Tiger Woods
The shoulders are on a steeper plane than at the top. the right moved down, the left moved up.

JUST PAST IMPACT

Tiger has hit this shot with a descending blow--notice the divot exploding out of the turf and the broken tee now exposed. The great tour players have a huge spring in the core area of the body. Tiger coils that spring against the ground in the backswing, then explodes upward going through impact, a huge power move. His left hip is higher than his right, and there is space between his legs, indicating a major unwinding.

The shoulders are now on a much steeper plane than they were at the top, meaning that the right shoulder moved down and the left shoulder moved up. This body structure is classic, picture-perfect power. Also, notice how close the hands are to the body, something all top players strive to attain. The ball has started right of the clubhead. This is surprising to many golfers, but it's exactly how a great player looks post impact. It's clear to me that Tiger is working on a neutral swing path, swinging farther to the left than before. As a result, Tiger is hitting the ball much straighter off the tee, and these pictures show how and why.

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