Here was a recent article from Golf Magazine’s Top 100 teacher Brady Riggs titled ‘Copy Tiger Woods’ New Swing At Your Own Risk’
Here are some excerpts and my responses/thoughts to them.
This swing change has occurred during what is easily the worst ball-striking stretch of Tiger's career.While true, a bit misleading. It comes off as the swing change itself caused Tiger’s worst ballstriking stretch of his career. Perhaps Riggs didn’t intend to have it come off this way. My belief is his worst ballstriking of his career happened before Haney quit and Tiger decided to change. Particularly at the 2010 Players Championship where Tiger was hitting pop ups with his then Haney swing.
The most intriguing aspect of this latest guru change is Tiger's choice to go to another "method" teacher in Foley, instead of someone like HarmonButch is far, far more ‘method’ teacher than Foley is. Butch teaches the same grip, same ‘straight back posture’, same widen the stance, same ball position, same ‘wide backswing and wide downswing.’ Foley seems to want a centered pivot action, avoid having the ‘flying right elbow’, and wants the ‘shoulders to turn in a circle’ from what I have watched in his new DVD.
To me, there’s noticeable differences in 2 students of Foley’s…Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan
Seriously, does this sound like a guy that teaches everybody the same?
Sean O’Hair can swing the way he does because of his flexibility, whereas Stephen Ames has to swing at it a little differently to get the same shot shape because of what he brings to the table with his body type. The reason no golf swing will ever look truly the same is that people’s hand length and arm length and strength and flexibility and how their body does or doesn’t work are going to be different. - Sean Foley
Haney and Foley share some similarities as teachers. Their students' swings tend to look the same because they work off a specific swing modelI’m not really sure what model Haney uses. I see Haney as a ‘method’ instructor because he virtually teaches every student almost the same things. Foley’s model seems like S&T without the pelvic thrust. But I don’t see it modeled after one single golfer and Riggs doesn’t mention it either, giving an indication that there really isn’t a model.
Rather than copying the swing of fellow-Foley student O'Hair, I would have chosen the swing that already produced major championshipsSo you complain about an instructor who follows a certain model because it’s ‘method teaching’ and then tell the world you would have him copy a swing that already produced major championships? Ben Crenshaw’s swing has produced major championships….should Tiger follow that instead?
And is it impossible to believe that Foley may be following the components of a swing that have won Majors?
Tiger is now pivoting over his front foot.This is just incorrect. His pivot is centered. If you don’t like a centered pivot, so be it. But he’s not turning over his front foot, not even close.
This is in sharp contrast to his swing of the early 00's, when his weight was balanced at the top on both feet. For most amateurs this will only make your steep angle of attack worse, especially with the driver.His attack angle actually increased and got steeper with the driver in the Haney swing which moved much more off the ball in the backswing. His backswing pivot is more centered now and he’s actually found ways to shallow out his attack angle and gain distance with the driver because he’s not hitting so far down on it anymore.
and when your hips are as fast as Tiger's on the downswing, the lack of width at the top throws the swing out of sync
I feel this is irrational from a biomechanical perspective. Width of what at the top?
Tiger has lost his "go-to" shot. At the height of his powers, when Woods needed to hit a fairway and get his round back on track, he always had the stinger. While it remains to be seen if Tiger has brought the shot back into his arsenal, the rest of the Tour hopes it continues to gather dust. Amateurs should always work on a go-to shot they can count on when the pressure's on. Like Tiger, if you force the swing that isn't working, expect the worst.While the stinger is a nice shot to have, don’t blame Foley for that as that stinger was long gone before Foley ever entered the picture. And I believe losing his driver accuracy (which he had under Harmon) is far bigger than losing his stinger and if I were competing against Tiger, I would rather see him lose his driver than his stinger.
Furthermore, Tiger has one of the worst carry efficiency’s with the driver in the game (total carry distance / clubhead speed = carry efficiency) which means he hits the ball extremely low.
In fact, Tiger in 2009 (last time he qualified statistically) finished 10th on the Tour in swing speed and was only 1 mph off from finishing in the top 5 in swing speed.
To me, Tiger is still a good overall iron player who is great with his wedges and hitting shots around the greens. His putting has dropped off (another one of his problems), but his driver is still a major issue. His problems up to the Foley swing change was that his driver would take him out of play for his approach shot to the green too often. Thus it would negate a strength of his (good iron play). Or what it would do…as shown in the 2009 PGA Championship…was he would be forced to hit shorter clubs off the tee to keep the ball in play, which he could, but then he would be hitting longer irons into his approaches.
Right now he seems more accurate with his driver, although I wouldn’t mistake him for Calvin Peete anytime soon. But, his driving distance is more or less ‘pretty good’ by PGA Tour standards instead of ‘scary long’ or ‘stupid long’ as he called Dustin Johnson, a guy who only generates about 1.5 mph more clubhead speed than he does (Dustin launches it completely better).
Truth is, Tiger probably should’ve never switched away from Butch Harmon in the first place. His ballstriking statistics were borderline insane during then. But that ship has sailed and he’s sought instruction from a very good instructor. I find Riggs’ arguments to be inaccurate and illogical.