The Loop

Monday Swing Analysis: How Tiger compresses the ball

December 05, 2011

**Even though Tiger Woods had to beat only 17 other players, a win is a win, and Tiger got World Ranking points for capturing the Chevron World Challenge Sunday. And getting that W has to be huge for him psychologically, especially because of the way he did it--birdieing the last two holes to win by a single stroke over Zach Johnson.

But what has been most interesting over the last several weeks is the way Tiger has been talking about compressing the ball better. We finally saw what he's been talking about. His teacher, Sean Foley, explained it in a tip that ran in the December issue of Golf Digest. Many commentators--and some teachers--have been critical of Tiger's famous "dip" on the downswing, saying he needs to stay tall through impact and give his arms room to swing. But both have chosen to embrace this move, and contend that it's one way to add distance.

"Now I've got the club in the right position, supplement that with my weight training, all of a sudden the ball is flying," Woods said last week*.

*Here's Foley on the topic in the December issue:

"One of golf's oldest cliches is 'maintain your posture' throughout the swing. The intent of the message is good: To help amateurs avoid rising out of the address position--either from a lack of hip flexibility or because they're trying to help the ball into the air. But keeping your head level might be robbing you of some distance.

"What you want to do is squat as you swing into the ball. This move is similar to what any athlete would do before leaping. Many long-ball hitters drop several inches as they start the downswing. Tiger has been doing it throughout his career, and it has served him well. Essentially, you're creating an explosive action by lowering and then pushing off the ground. It helps you swing into the ball with considerable force. If you were to maintain your posture, it would be impossible to get to the ideal low point of your swing, four or five inches in front of the ball.

"So the next time you swing, pretend there's a banana lying lengthwise under your front foot. Your goal is to squash it as you swing down. Do this, and you'll really compress the ball."


*Photographs by J.D. Cuban / Golf Digest