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Media watch: Woods' swing scrutinized

June 18, 2010

Given that Tiger Woods has never been amenable to criticism of his golf swing, it would behoove him to avoid watching, or at least listening, to a tape of Friday's broadcast of the second round of the U.S. Open.

First up were Curtis Strange and Brad Faxon on ESPN, after Woods horribly hooked a tee shot at the third hole.

"You just didn't see him hit shots like this years ago," Strange said. "He's all over the lot. He lays the club off at the top of the swing, which means the club points to the left of the target. When that happens, it's so tough to bring it back to square at impact. He is laying it off now. I think he knows that. I know he knows that.

"Sam Snead told me years ago, you can play from crossing the line, but you can't play from laying it off."

Replied Faxon: "If you watch him taking his practice swing it really looks like on the downswing he's trying to get that clubhead out in front of his body more. He keeps saying when he doesn't feel comfortable in his swing the club's stuck behind him and he's trying to do it with his hands, but I don't think that's the way to do it."

NBC compounded the criticism. Dottie Pepper set up Woods' second shot from the fairway on the par-4 ninth hole, the last of Tiger's round.

"It's a perfectly flat lie and the angle is wonderful," she said. "I can't imagine he has any more than wedge in his hands."

Then Woods hit it long, to the back of the green, leaving him a long, quick, downhill putt.

"That's just horrendous, that shot right there," Miller said. "He's got that putt, he can putt it right off the green."

Other day two highlights from ESPN and NBC:

-- Miller on Lee Westwood on the ninth tee: "Watch his head dip a little at the bottom of his swing. He's got the Natalie Gulbis head movement. I'm sure that will thrill when he hears about that."

-- NBC's Dan Hicks, as Watson made his way onto the 17th green: "You just say three words -- Watson, seventeen, Pebble Beach."

Does Hicks get disqualified for claiming three words, when he took four?

-- Strange and Pepper had this exchange regarding Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa:

"Watch this golf swing. That's as good as it gets," Strange said.

"Not many knock-downs in that arsenal, Curtis," replied Pepper.

"How many knock-downs did you hit when you were 18, Dottie?" Strange asked.

"Not a one," Pepper said laughing.

Strange said later: "That's one of the best swings in golf. Very solid, very efficient."

-- ESPN's Tom Rinaldi aired a poignant interview with Shaun Micheel, whose mother Donna is battling cancer. Here's Micheel:

"My mom was diagnosed in April of 2009 with small cell carcinoma of the lung. It had metastasized to her liver. In Houston this year, I found she had a nickel-sized spot in her brain. She went through 15 radiation treatments. She's been going through chemotherapy. She has one more chemotherapy treatment at the end of this month and that'll be it.

"It's a hard disease. It's killing me to watch her going through all of it because I'm watching the life get sucked out of her each and every day. I love her. I wish I could take it away from her. I hold out every hope that some miracle will happen...It's hard on me, but I'm persevering, because my mom wants me to be out here competing. My mom's outcome unfortunately is not going to be a pleasant one. That may be a couple of months from now. I'm hoping not."

-- Miller on Micheel and others who needed only 24 putts, give or take, in Thursday's first round: "Every one of those guys that had 22, 24 or 25 putts, I was thinking, they're not going to be there the rest of the week if they don't hit it better."

His point, based on the absence of low scoring, is that their putters rescued their tee-to-green game.

-- John Strege