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Tiger Woods has had an incredible "comeback" year, rising all the way from 650th to 26th in the Official World Golf Rankings. He has also performed fairly well in the majors, which includes shooting a final round 64 for a 2nd place finish at the PGA Championship. However, even with all of the strides Tiger has made this year, he still has had his share of struggles off the tee.
If we look closely at the differences between his driver and iron swings, we may be able to draw a few conclusions as to what is causing this inconsistency, especially if we use the "3 Consistency Keys" for some guidance. Of course, the "3 Consistency Keys" for ballstriking are going to be swing plane, low point control, and controlling the face to path relationship. If we look at Tiger's driver swing, we can quickly see that he does 2 of these "keys" fairly well. That is, he does a good job with low point control and his club is swinging on a reasonable plane through impact.
As for the 3rd key, which is controlling the face to path relationship, we will notice that Tiger has the clubface fairly open just before impact. Some of the best drivers on tour tend to square the clubface earlier in the downswing, which eliminates timing and the larger misses. Tiger's iron swing, on the other hand, has the clubface more square at this same point, which may explain why his iron game is one of the best on tour.
Ultimately, if Tiger could square the face earlier with the driver, he may be able to improve upon his misses. However, this may be easier said than done as this is a pattern that he has exhibited throughout the majority of his career. Nonetheless, he is still one of the all time greats because his sharp iron play, inspiring short game, and near legendary mental toughness have been able to make up for any accuracy issues off the tee.
Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos
Tags: Not Straight Enough, Driver, Analysis
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In this analysis video, we discussed the member question, why can't Tiger hit a fair
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way with the driver?
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So Tiger has had a better than expected season.
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He's doing great with his iron plate, his putting is really come around, but he still
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seems to struggle with the driver.
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In this video, I'm going to talk to you about one or two ideas that might contribute
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to why Tiger struggles so much off the tee.
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Whenever I'm addressing consistency, there are three main factors that I look for.
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One is the low point control from the face-on video, we're basically looking at the
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height of the club down at the ground.
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Here you can see he's got the club close to the height of the golf ball for a relatively
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long period of time.
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So low point control might not be the biggest reason why you would struggle with the driver.
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For many amateurs, it will either come down from a too high position or it will come up
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too quickly leading to topping the ball or hitting it really low on the face.
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The second area of consistency that I look at is the swing plane or the rough path of the
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Now, a estimate you can use is if you take the swing to impact and then freeze it, you can
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draw a line up the shaft and that will roughly give you the shaft plane to impact and then
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you can kind of see how close he is with the hands and the club on both sides of the
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You'd have to have the perfect camera angle but you can see from this view that the path
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does appear to be slightly into out and it appears to be following a relatively good path
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as it relates to the driver.
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So it doesn't look like low point, it doesn't look like path or is main issues which
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lets us think that possibly the third one is going to be an issue.
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The third main issue is looking at the face to path relationship and basically looking at
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the timing of how he rotate the club face.
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So now if we get him to roughly shaft parallel here, the club face is not in an overly
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position or overly open position and it's not in a terribly close position.
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You really can do a lot from where the club is here.
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But now as we come down, you can see through these few frames through here, the club is
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still pointing well out to the right of the target which many more consistent drivers
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the golf ball would have the club face pointing a little bit closer towards the golf
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ball or towards the target and not have to rotate it quite as fast down at the bottom.
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So one possible reason Tiger struggles off the tape is he struggles with closing the club
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face to late in the downswing.
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Most of the amateur who I work with who have this pattern and many pros who have this
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pattern do struggle with bigger misses off the tee and often struggle with two way
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Now the next question I always get is why is that a bigger problem with the driver than
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it is with the iron?
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But before we investigate that, let's take a quick look at his iron play.
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Okay, so now over on the right we have a swing vision from the memorial tournament and
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we will compare me to a driver from roughly around the same time of the year.
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So now if we get him down to that chef parallel check point with the iron, you can see
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that the club faces in a little bit more closed or turned down position.
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That by itself isn't going to make us more consistent.
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But it could mean that we don't have to close it quite as aggressively late.
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And now if we get the club to about the same distance before impact, so somewhere kind of
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in this zone here, you can see that the club face is pointing more at the golf ball or
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closer to the target than it is over here with the driver.
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Now we don't know what shots he's hitting with these two.
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But if you look at some of his swings with the driver throughout the years, you will see
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that this is a common pattern here where the club face is open late.
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With his iron play, this is more of the common pattern.
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He tends to get it close a little bit sooner.
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Now we just have to speculate as to why that happens.
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Perhaps it's the way he swings at it harder with the driver that causes the face to get
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Perhaps it's a waiting of the club and his hands that he feels when in order to swing up on
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the ball, he has a hard time doing so with the club face feeling closed.
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But this would certainly be one area that he could investigate since it does contribute
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to the fact that he struggles more with hitting fairways off the seat.
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Now let's say you have this position here with an iron as well as a driver, but you
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mainly struggle with accuracy problems with the driver.
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Well that can happen for a couple of reasons.
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One, it's often easier to close the club face late by straightening the trail arm and
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kind of flipping the wrist and it's often easier to do that if you are a little bit ahead
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of the golf ball or swinging down on it because of a little bit of a forward lunge.
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That pattern of hitting down with a little forward lunge tends to be more repeatable with
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iron than it does with driver.
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The second answer could be just the fact that the club is longer and when the club is longer
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it has more resistance to change because it will be moving faster.
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And when the club has more resistance to change, it's easier to control if you can get
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it squared up sooner.
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I use the example of a magic newer playing badminton and instead of playing badminton with
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a normal racket which is quite light and which you can square up with just a little flick
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of the wrist.
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Imagine if I gave you a badminton racket that weighed, let's say, 10 pounds.
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It would change your strategy of how you have to play.
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You have to get in position earlier so that you could have the badminton racket going
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on the path that you wanted with a face pointing in the redirection because you wouldn't
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be able to change it so quickly down at the bottom or right before impact.
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It's one of my theories based on talking with a few golf science guys that that becomes
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more of an issue when you're swinging along your club like a driver than it does with
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a shorter club which leads to why a lot of golfers who have a club face that's open
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a struggle more off the tee than they do with their iron play.
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One thing that I've noticed is that golfers who tend to swing at it with a little bit
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eat more ease or rhythm tend to be able to recover better from that open club face position.
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Now just so you can see that this is not something new in his game.
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Here we have two swings, one from 2008 over on the left and one from 2013 over on the right.
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You'll see he has the club face a little bit more closed in this one than he does in
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As we start to approach the golf ball you can see the club face is still well right
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of where the fairway is there and you can see that this one will not quite as dramatic
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is still pointing more off to the right than it is currently.
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The seems to be a pattern that he has struggled with which could explain why he struggles
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more off the tee but it's hard to mess with anything when you are one of the best iron
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players have the great short game and the mental game to win as much as he had even with having
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an accuracy deficiency off the tee.