Tiger Woods at a major championship once fostered analysis on where he stood in relation to Jack Nicklaus. Now it promotes analysis on where he stands in relation to himself.
Eddie Merrins, the renowned Little Pro, is at Chambers Bay, site of the U.S. Open, and made an appearance on the Golf Channel on Tuesday morning, weighing in on Woods' issues.
"Tiger obviously has problems, mentally, physically, technically, and only he can work his way out of those, and I'm sure he will, because he's too accomplished," Merrins, the pro emeritus at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles said in an interview with Golf Channel instructor Michael Breed.
Tiger Woods during a practice round Tuesday (Getty Images)
"As far as his golf swing is concerned, he's been with five different instructors that I know of, maybe six. What he has learned through the years are the three dimensions of a golf swing. His early teacher, Rudy Duran, taught him a high swing, a very classic high swing. And then Butch Harmon taught him a wide swing. And then [Hank] Haney and others taught him the Hogan style of swinging around himself, which meant a deep swing.
"So he was high, he was wide and he was deep at different parts of his career. And he had a lot of success. But I don't know that he ever figured out that he needed all three of those dimensions blended together into a concept that Tiger Woods could play with day by day. I think he kept vacillating, looking for what was best for him."
Breed followed with his own assessment. "Tiger always seems to look great on the practice tee. His hand path…is more similar to what he had going when he was working with Butch. As it starts to go out toward the target instead of around, that's when he gets into trouble and starts hitting those push blocks and those quick hooks. You don't see that on the practice tee.
"On the practice tee, that upper body is so well positioned over the lower body, the rhythm and motion is in sync, and I think that's what he's desperately trying to get out on the golf course in competition."
Expect the analysis to continue unabated this week and into the near future. "This conversation has been recycled more than plastic and paper," Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman said.