Tiger Woods missed the cut at the 2014 PGA Championship, finishing at 6-over par for the tournament, but it was an argument between analysts about his golf swing that had everyone’s attention.

Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the debate in the forums.

After first round play, Golf Channel analysts Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo debated whether Woods is hurt because of his new swing or his new swing is different because he is hurt.

Chamblee argued that Woods has too much “forward shaft lean” at impact, causing a steep angle of attack that often results in low pulls and high blocks. To shallow out his swing, Chamblee said that Woods must “swing left” and “lean backwards” with the driver as he approaches the ball. This, he says, “zeroes out” his path elevates his launch angle, but has caused damage to his back. Chamblee then got into the numbers to support his claims, saying that Tiger’s launch angle this year is 12 degrees, 13 degrees and 12.86 degrees, depending on which part of the video you watch.

Frank Nobilo, on the other hand, made the argument that Woods’ swing can’t be blamed for his poor play because the golfer isn’t healthy. Chamblee argued, however, that he analyzed Thursday, Friday and Saturday rounds from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where Woods claimed he was “100 percent pain free” and took him at his word.

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.44.35 PM
Golf Digest sent this Tweet following the first round, illustrating Woods’ swing changes from 2000 until now.

Nobilo further supported his point by noting that Woods’ swing speed was 120 mph last year, and that Woods’ forward shaft lean really isn’t as drastic as Chamblee claims. Chamblee responded to that by claiming Woods’ swing speed was 117 mph in 2013, then cut to a video showing fairly significant forward shaft lean.

The argument got heated, and Chamblee ended up betting Nobilo “everything on the set… everything you own!” that he was correct. So who won the argument?

Well, Woods’ numbers, according to radar statistics on PGATour.com, show that he is averaging 115.63 mph club head speed with his driver in 2014 with a launch angle of 11.86 degrees. In 2013 he averaged 118.3 mph with a launch angle of 11.2 degrees. In 2008, Woods averaged 124.63 mph with a launch angle of 9.04 degrees. So while Chamblee and Nobilo’s stats were in the ballpark, neither were spot on with the facts.

This photo of Tiger Woods was taken on the range at the 2014 Quicken Loans National.

Our two most-read instructors on GolfWRX, Tom Stickney and Dennis Clark, were kind enough to weigh in with their thoughts.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What can we really learn from Tiger’s Trackman results? Read below for their insights and reaction.

Dennis Clark

Tiger Woods won 14 majors before he started using Trackman. He has won none since using Trackman. Does that mean Trackman is bad or doesn’t help? NOT AT ALL. I use Flightscope, which records the same things Trackman does and I LOVE it. But radar measurements are numbers the teacher should use to get the player the proper feel and motion. I personally DO NOT share my FlightScope numbers with my students, but I DO go over video with them. Radar quantifies impact and video gives the player some idea of HOW to get to those numbers; that’s how I use the two tools.

As for the debate, the answer is probably somewhere between the two. I agree that Woods is hurting. How much? None of us have any idea. Tiger is very secretive about his health and his life; athletic warriors never show their hand. As a golf instructor, I have an idea that Tiger’s somewhat violent swing through the ball over the years could have contributed to some of his issues. I’m not a doctor, so I really don’t know. That part of the discussion is not for golf pros. Why doesn’t Golf Channel bring his doctor on to discuss the issue and how it may or may not affect his motion? But the part of the debate that Chamblee seemed so self-assured about (as seems to be often) is questionable.

Forward shaft lean DOES NOT equate to steepness in and of itself. I can lean the shaft forward and be quite shallow, or let the club pass the hands and be quite steep. Secondly, “backing up” does not LOFT the ball in and of itself. I can back up (which adds axis tilt) and still keep the hands forward, particularly if the RIGHT ARM is extended through impact, which I see in Tiger a bit more now in Tiger than before.

The PGA Tour does not release attack angle or dynamic loft numbers that I know of. If anyone knows them, please feel free to share, but the point is this: If Tiger has more forward shaft lean, that would only be revealed in dynamic loft, NOT attack angle or launch. The other thing we have to consider is simply age. Tiger is a fairly old 38 in competitive years. He has paid a serious price for his dynamics, but of course without that powerful motion we would not be having this discussion in the first place.  So some of his speed issues might very well be injury and age, but he still has plenty of speed to play and win at the highest level.

I have looked over a lot of old video compared to the new swing. Now, he is injured and much less dynamic through the ball. And he is 38 years old. So he needs to be honest with himself about this and develop a motion that is compatible this his current skill set, not the one he used to have. I might suggest less concern with “zeroing out” his path and simply let the club swing right, release it a bit earlier and play a high draw. He simply can’t swing left as well as when he was healthier. Most times he sets up left he HITS it left. To me that indicates less ability to turn through the ball, which holds the face off a bit for the fade he’s trying to hit. Double crosses are simply the body not turning through faster than the arms. And the other, perhaps more obvious sign of less dynamics through impact is the occasional FAT shot he hits. That’s a shot rarely seen at the highest level because those players are so aggressive through the ball. Tiger is not healthy right now. So let’s work with a swing requiring less turn through the ball. At least for now. Technology is only as good as the teacher using it. How he directs the player to “feel” the motion to make the numbers work is critical.

Who has Frank or Brandel worked with on tour? Or at a club?

Tom Stickney

Tiger’s problem is the teacher and the student’s hyper awareness of the analysis of the numbers, not the Trackman machine itself! I’m sure his health isn’t helping either.

Golfers and teachers must use it correctly or it can become a detriment, just like video or any other technology. The teacher’s job is to insulate the player from all the stuff that they don’t need to hear/see/know with technology. Some teachers don’t understand this fact.

As a Trackman University Partner/Master User, I can tell you that Trackman is a GREAT tool, but you still can’t forget that you should use it to teach the correct “feel” to the player. BUT the student must use these “feels” to “play” the game! It’s not about making perfect swings; it’s about playing and scoring-PERIOD.

The focus should be taken off Trackman and placed solidly on the shoulders of the teachers using them. Some know how to “use” the machine and it’s awesome benefits while others don’t. It’s not the technologies fault for Tigers struggles.

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  1. @Dennis Clark: “If Tiger has more forward shaft lean, that would only be revealed in dynamic loft, NOT attack angle or launch.”

    Last part of your statement is inaccurate. If Tiger has increased forward shaft lean at impact with the same attack angle, centeredness of strike, static loft, etc, then it will also show up in the launch data as dynamic loft is one component/variable of launch angle.

  2. Has anyone found any pictures of Nicklaus, Hogan, Snead, or Norman with forward shaft lean at impact with a driver? What about Tiger from 97 through 2002? It seems like at impact their left arm and the golf club were in a strait line if you are looking from face on? It also seems like at least Nicklaus Hogan Nelson Norman all had some flex in their left knee at impact? I’m just sifting through youtube but it seems like the handle of the club is for the most part directly in front of their zipper at impact. Another thing I’m noticing in Nicklaus Hogan Norman and Watson from the face on view is the position that they are in when the club is parallel to the ground past impact I think some people call it P8. It seems to me that the handle of the golf club is very close to their pelvis and their hands are below or almost below their belt line. It almost seems like in order to get your hands below the belt at this position the hands are very much pushed down but Nicklaus took very shallow divots so he must be countering pushing down in the hand with lifting the rib cage in order to not stick the club in the ground. I also see both arms look very strait there and sucked onto their body at that position. For the most part it seems like the butt of the club is still pointing at their zipper here. I don’t watch much figure skating but don’t figure skaters bring their arms onto their body to spin faster? It might be common sense but to me it seems like the greats of the past had a smaller sweet spot on their driver and a golf ball that clearly spun more, so wouldn’t it make sense that the motion would have to be more efficient to hit that golf ball with those golf clubs to be great? I find it hard to believe that Nicklaus would struggle with todays equipment but for some reason Tiger is. Maybe the answer has been right in front of us the whole time we just didn’t know what to look for.

  3. I turned off the TV during the debate. Chamblee is such an ego maniac that he ruins golf for the viewer. Nobody really cares about Chamblee’s trackman stats. I think Nobilio is just sick of working with Chamblee and reacted to his “know it all” bullshit. I don’t know anyone who wants to watch Chamblee…drop him golf channel…

    • I couldn’t agree more, I turn the channel every time I see Chamblee’s smug face. His vendetta against Tiger is well documented. Get him off the air, he is ruining golf for all of us.

    • there are 2 groups of ppl: one that admits Chamblee is a w@anker and the other if f@rking liars…

      on the positive note Chamblee is such a waste in golf world that anyone sounds like genius… BTW what handicap Chamblee currently holds apart his ego?

      • Chamblee’s game is creating controversy. He tries to present himself as the commentator unafraid to ask the hard questions, criticize the sport’s icon’s, etc. He probably doesn’t even believe some of the things he says. He’s the Devil’s Advocate of golf. I think golf needs someone like him, although a little less abrasiveness would be nice.

  4. Not to play Devil’s Advocate here, but, could Tiger’s problem me more attributed to the lateral motion with his hips during the downswing than is is to path and hand position?

    -To explain, I mean that the left hip has passed the left knee and foot, and is WAY beyond the ‘neutral’ joint alignment position that would create the most stability and least lower back pressure. If his first move down was to allow the arms to fall passively (which he used to do) and then rotate the left lat toward the target, I think he could stay much more centered over the ball with his lower body. Conversely, his current move is what appears to be an active ‘pushing’ motion to keep the club from flipping over because of his lower body motion. The crouch, and push-off creates a considerable amount of power, but the body’s motion laterally should stay fairly central, no?

  5. When did we all become too stupid to realize that golf is hard and takes a lot of practice to be your best at? He needs to knock the rust off and he will be as he was. Do we expect pitchers with Tommy John surgery to roll off the operating table and start blowing people away? of course not. The guys swing is beautiful, he just hasn’t played enough!!!
    He is a year removed from winning 5 times and leading the tour in money…do you really think he is done? PS Brandle is an idiot

    • Brandel is NOT idiot! He is right and is telling the viewers the numbers and explaining what these numbers mean. Frank on the other hand is making excuses for Tiger and why his game is not up to par. Chamblee is right because when tiger said he was healthy for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday he looked fine hitting shots throughout the round, swinging 100% with NO pain. Then on Sunday he withdrew we later found out he had injured a DIFFERENT PART OF HIS BACK than what was operated on, this is evidence that the injury occurred from the was he is now swinging the golf club. If anyone disagrees please email me a djcastle17@gmail.com with your argument and I will be happy to prove you wrong.


      • Is Chanblee an idiot? I think he is sick with need to be right. No one can have an opinion different from his. What’s wrong with Tiger? Probably all the time off and swing changes due to injury. I do know this, Tiger is/was the best golfer ever, and I love to watch and appreciate what he can do still on the golf course. I know another thing, I can NOT watch or listen to Chamblee’s vendetta, hatred, jealousy of Tiger or anything else he says. I turn the channel when he is on. Please get him off the air Golf Channel.

    • Best thing for Tiger would be to take about 5 months off then quit not unless Butch Harmon will help him. Tiger is a perfect example that no matter how good you are, how much talent you have, an instructor with an ego can ruin it. He is lost and can’t be found. If he was smart he would look at videos of his swing in 2000 and swing at 85% of that. He would then only win 4 tournaments a years and maybe 5 more majors instead of not making the cut as he is now. I would tell him to his face if he asked me. Plenty of good players have gone through it and most have not come back.

  6. I think its true that his current swing does not fit his body. It looks forced, too tight. Look how close to the ball he stands… its way too close if you ask me. I really hopes he find out somewhay to do something that keeps him healthy.

    If it was me, I would either just train my self. Or contact Harmon. But hey… only tiger knows whats right for him.

  7. I’m not a huge Chamblee fan, but I have to side with him on this. If Tiger says he’s healthy, then it has to be this “new” swing. Tiger needs to swallow his pride and go back to either Butch or Hank … Foley will just hurt his back more ..

    I also wonder why he has been so injury prone the last few years. Is it simply the swing, all the weight training, or do I dare say it HgH/Steroids back in the day ?? Did golf use MLB’s motto of don’t test/don’t tell policy in Tiger’s prime to get purse’s and interest up like baseball did ?? Gary Player once said he knew of prominant players testing positive, but like Dustin Johnson, the PGA likes to keep the tests private ..

    Check old photos of Tiger and note the muscle mass he put on into the early 2000’s .. HgH/steroids help with strength, conditioning, recovery, and also aids in the premature joints, tendons, and ligaments.

    • It’s not popular to talk about this stuff, especially when Tiger’s involved, but I agree with you. We- especially the “powers that be” in golf- need to be more open about this. To think it doesn’t happen, given all the money involved, is naive. There was a time when MLB and its fans had the same attitude, but look where they are now.

    • Yea, he is playing golf, not running the ball for the Redskins (yes, I use it deliberately). He should not have all these problems with his MS system not unless he did something he should not have. Then again, sometimes what comes around goes around and vise versa. He has lost his way and a church might do him more good than an instructor. Tiger needs to come back to the real world because he is in it, he just don’t know it yet.

  8. I root for Tiger Woods to win everytime he tees it up. Why? Because I respect and value what he alone in golf has achieved. I am confident that Tiger will regain his health and his formidable play. I even believe Tiger will win another major or two before retiring from competitive golf, but given all the time off he has had to take because of injuries, plus the multitude of gifted athletes that are presently playing the tour these days, Tiger may find it impossible to beat or even tie Jack Nicklaus’s number of major wins. However,in my opinion whether Tiger achieves the 19 major wins or not, up until now he has been the greatest golfer to have ever played the game.

  9. Because of TW’s personal demeanor, I have never considered myself a Tiger fan Boy. However,I root for him to win everytime he tees it up. Why? Because I respect and value what he alone in golf has achieved. I am confident that Tiger will regain his health and his formidable play. I believe Tiger will win another major or two before retiring from competitive golf, but given all the time off he has had to take because of injuries and personal tragedies, and especially given the multitude of gifted athletes that are presently playing the tour these days, Tiger may find it impossible to beat or even tie Jack Nicklaus’s number of major wins. However,whether Tiger achieves the 19 major wins or not, up until now he has been the greatest golfer to have ever played the game.

    • I root for Tiger Woods to win everytime he tees it up. Why? Because I respect and value what he alone in golf has achieved. I am confident that Tiger will regain his health and his formidable play. I even believe Tiger will win another major or two before retiring from competitive golf, but given all the time off he has had to take because of injuries, plus the multitude of gifted athletes that are presently playing the tour these days, Tiger may find it impossible to beat or even tie Jack Nicklaus’s number of major wins. However,in my opinion whether Tiger achieves the 19 major wins or not, up until now he has been the greatest golfer to have ever played the game.
      Read more at http://www.golfwrx.com/237591/chamblee-nobilo-get-heated-over-tigers-swing-changes/comment-page-1/#7LrRW1dERsKFejJ9.99

  10. Mr Nobilo, you have no chance in this debate because Chamblee is one of those ignorant clowns that thinks if he talks over you, you are not speaking, ask him to compare what he did on tour to your achievements

  11. I think it is interesting that Tiger’s launch angle with the driver was around 9 degrees and his clubhead speed 124 back in 2008. There is much talk these days of “optimal” driver numbers for distance. All the guys from the equipment companies fit with high launch, low spin numbers as the goal with today’s equipment. I find that the majority of tour caliber players flight the ball much lower than that, and are more concerned with hitting fairways than on gaining a few yards with ball flight that doesn’t fit their eye. It seems that the search for these numbers is causing issues with the swing itself, which brings up the point that Trackman tells you what the ball is doing, but it doesn’t tell you why. Trackman is a great tool to tell you what is happening when you are swinging well. Just like looking at old video from back when you used to be good, having a record of what the ball is doing when you are hitting it well is invaluable. The trouble I see comes from trying to adjust the swing to “zero out” the numbers, or to achieve certain numbers. One of the best players I work with messed himself up trying to jimmy his swing to hit the numbers. I would think that by now Tiger could trust his eye and his feel to hit the driver in the fairway more often. He used to have a gift for making the adjustment in release action between the driver and irons. It was apparent to him that he hit the driver better when he released it earlier. It would probably be nothing but helpful to take his Trackman away and just let him find his own swing again.

    • I agree 100% Wayne; Tiger won 14 majors allegedly hitting down on his driver. My question is who cares? They were the RIGHT numbers for him! The handle dragging he’s gotten into has to be some form of trying to “zero out”. Be gone with the numbers! Like Butch said: “You’re Tiger freakin Woods for goodness sakes; go play golf”.

  12. I really don’t understand all of the discussion regarding tiger’s swing. The guy won 5 events last year with Foley. This year he gets hurt and tried to come back quickly. Add that to a rusty game and you get the scores he was shooting. Look at what the extra practice time did for Rory after splitting with Woz…and he wasn’t even away from the game completely.

    After my back surgery 2.5 years ago at age 23 I came back to a terribly rusty golf game for months following my return. I am interested to see his first few rounds next year. I don’t really feel judgement can be passed on the state of his game or his coach until he is back in tournament form.

    • tiger wins now in spite of his new sean foley swing not because of it.the latest swing changes are also a factor in his continuing and worsening back problems.several players most notably lee trevino went to a draw later in their career to put less stress on the back.due to his ability and desire tiger will remain a force until his body breaks down completely.foleys approach works for some players it just has not worked for tiger

  13. <blockquote cite="which means it’s not the swing, it’s the man making the swing. maybe he needs someone like Bob Rotella instead of a new swing coach."

    I think this is the most spot on comment of all of the comments posted. Tiger is in a dark place mentally, he looks completely confused and befuddled when interviewed. I think he has lost his way completely and I don't think it far-fetched to hope that he reunite with an old mentor like Butch Harmon and have him give Tiger some good old home cooking as it relates to life and the game he loves.

    It is very disappointing to see his downward spiral. This all started I believe prior to his public outing of philandering. He should never have married that woman that was orchestrated I am sure by people in his camp at the time telling him he needed to do it for his "image". But he wasn't in love with that girl, more like in lust and when he found out she wasn't what he was looking for he immediately went out and found what he was looking for. Just so unbelievably disappointing to watch unfold the unhinging of a modern day sports icon. I also don't think it is too far-fetched that Tiger may be DONE PERIOD! He has been doing this since he was 3 years old. His father was a very strict and stern guy who pushed Tiger, irregardless of what he said in interviews prior to his passing, relentlessly to be what he has become. I mean the poor guy has never really had a life not unlike the Hollywood child stars you see who crash and burn.

    I hope for his sake he can find some inner peace and happiness as he truly does deserve that of anything he may be searching for. I am not Tiger fanboy have never been much of a Tiger fan but I have always enjoyed watching his play and respected what he has accomplished with his enormous talent. If he never returns to golf it wouldn't phase me one bit but I think he still has some fire in his belly and just needs to surround himself with all the right people who can help him get back on track and focus on what he wants to accomplish in the last years of his competitive career.

    • Great comment. Tiger has not been the same since his marriage breakdown. For some reason a wife and kids keep you grounded and stabilised as much as there are jokes about marriage it gives a guy stability. Problem for Tiger is he messed up big time and is paying for it in more ways that one.
      As for his playing majors it does just seem his head is not in the right place. The Tiger of old would not get distracted by all the other stuff going on around him.
      No Im not a fanboy either but I do respect what he has done on the course. He has literally changed golf for the better or worse. Rememeber he has lived in a bubble since 3 and now its really coming back to bite him.

  14. I caught the debate and for the first time in a very long time I enjoyed watching Golf Central.
    Frank had had enough of Brandel, especially when Brandel called him out on national TV saying he would
    bet everything on the set…etc. You just don’t do that, which is why Frank who is usually carries a very calm demeanor on camera made his stand. Like I said, I enjoyed watching it because healthy debate is good for golf.

    As far as TW is concerned, when he won the Firestone last year nobody was saying fire Foley were they?
    When he won The Players and POY award folks weren’t saying he’s done, finished, et cetera right? He gets injured and now he’s finished? America has turned into an instant gratification country. Win or your dismissed, which is sad because golf like life require patience to succeed.

  15. This is what panel discussions is about. What do you want? That Chamblee, Noah and Nobilo just agree on everything? How boring.
    To the last point Nobilo made that he would look up the numbers. What happen about that? Did they ever discussed it? Was Chamblee correct?

  16. i caught this heated exchange, and i turned it off in protest of chamblee, and let the golf channel know that if he’s on, i’m changing the channel.

    tiger is hurt, and the extent to which he is hurt will never be fully understood until his career is over because he micromanages the information he makes available to the rest of us.

    dennis absolutely hit the nail on the head: forward shaft lean does not mean you are swinging steeply.

    chamblee is a foley hater. he’s entitled to his opinion, but foley has a pretty impressive stable of guys who can play tremendous golf.

    you want to see some head-scratching, antiquated, and flat-out misinformative swingspeak? watch chamblee and azinger on golf channel academy full swing. they mock foley’s methodology without calling him out by name. the swing advice they give may “feel” right, but it’s not correct and isn’t even what they’re actually doing when they swing.

    lastly, to mr. stickney’s point about foley being the wrong teacher for tiger, and being too trackman-focused, has mr. stickney sat in on any of foley’s lessons with tiger? is he suggesting that all they do is study trackman, or do they actually hit balls? i would think they use trackman in their work together, but that the majority of what they do is working on a full swing. why is he suggesting that there is too much focus on trackman?

  17. I like reading all of these comments. Most of them are positive, much more so than the other websites. I had a pretty lengthy talk yesterday with a teacher who helps me and who many consider the most educated swing teacher there is and it was interesting to get his perspective. Trackman is great but where is the ball going? What to do to correct it? I think it boils down to its just the wrong swing and coach for Tiger. Its not his natural way of swinging but he’s so skilled that for a while he can make it work.

      • great point over the years tiger has won with every instructor he has used.due to his ability and desire he still wins in spite of his latest swing changes.the swing he is making now will continue to worsen his back problems.totally agree about hitting a draw like trevino did later in his career

  18. I saw some comments regarding Trevino, and whether or not he was steep. He wasn’t, of course, as he kept the face square longer than anyone through the hitting area.

    Speaking of Trevino, he agrees with what I’ve always thought that the driver is the most important club in the bag, a longstanding debate I’ve had with my buddies, who think it’s the putter. Rory’s great play is mostly because of his dominance with the driver, and Tiger’s poor play is his inability to hit the driver.


    • Yea Trevino was as accurate a driver that ever played the tour. Followed him in 1968 for three days at Oak Hill and played with him in Atlantic City once. Never missed the club face. No length but hit everything on the button and man he had a sweet putting stroke. Watch some 1984 PGA at Shoal Creek.

    • You are wrong. Plain and simple. The putter is by far the most important, the others just have 13 different lofts. If you watched tigers okay when he first came back he was missing his 10-15ft putts badly, some don’t even touch the hole. With greens rolling that fast if takes a large amount of skill and precision with all the pressure put on it is a true talent to putt as well as Rory coming down the stretch in a major.
      Yes it is important to keep the ball in play, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t sink the birdie putt.

  19. He has a bad back, period. He is trying to play through it and you cannot make your natural swing if you are compensating in any way. I’ve had a chronic back and nerve issue and there are time when you stand on the tee box frightened of what may happen. It’s like a sniper taking you out. What I’m saying is that it is not only the injury and pain accompanying the injury, but also the mental effect which combine to put the player at a disadvantage to himself and other players in the field both mentally and physically. You must be honest with yourself when injured. You WILL know when it is time to come back and it takes an immense amount of patience. You start by putting…no pain?…move on to chipping..no pain?…move on to 1/2 swings…no pain?…go on to 3/4 swings…no pain?…move on to full swings…no pain?…move on to driver…no pain?…play a few holes…no pain?…etc…

    • Ooh, good one. How about throwing in an “Oh huh” while you’re at it? Whether you like Chamblee or not (and clearly you don’t), that’s always the dumbest comment anyone could make. It’s like saying “If Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley, et al know so much, why aren’t they playing instead of teaching?” It’s probably safe to say that having been a professional golfer and someone who studies golfers for a living,
      Chamblee has a little better insight into the golf swing than you.

  20. Hello! L1,L2,S1 here. 109mph driver swing, I know what it is to have a bad back and try to play with it. Tiger is either faking it because he doesn’t want to admit that he screwed up by trying to change his swing or he is an idiot for trying to play so soon without allowing his body to heal. Either way he is not making good decisions and he does not have it together. He should go home, rest, get his head right, heal his body and come back next year at Augusta,period.

  21. I happened to be channel flipping the other night when I accidentally caught this cat fight. I can tell you it felt awkward. For a moment I thought perhaps Golf Channel had a new program: Point, Counter Point or something like that. I don’t think Brandel and Frank had a beer together after the show.

  22. Great article, gentlemen. I want to add to the discussion that it’s important for an instructor–at any level–to match a student’s personality. Tiger, the evidence suggests, is an introverted, data-focused, technically-oriented guy: look at his approach to the media, what he studied in college (finance), the stories of his exceptional descriptive ability with the Nike design team. Foley appears to be of the same, or a similar, school. Nothing productive could come out of a relationship that matched two opposite types on the practice range–at least when we’re talking about an intelligent, prolifically successful,THIRTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD man. Tiger, at this stage of his career, would hardly gel with a “stern shepherd” type. Also, we can merely speculate on the success Butch or Haney would have had with a beat up, much older Tiger Woods. Let’s give Sean Foley the extra time he deserves–if not an indefinite license to teach the best player in the game’s history. To embrace science when it’s convenient for us (recent equipment advances) but then downgrade it when it complicates but doesn’t necessarily hurt things (launch monitors in teaching) is hypocritical. We’ll all feel stupid if Foley ends up being right and helps get Tiger to 19–or even major number 15.

    • Thank you JB. I don’t think we are downgrading technology because it has ‘complicates” things. As Tom said, Trackman is not the problem, we can only speculate that someone is interpreting it in a way that may not be best for TW. IT WOULD BE an apples to apples comp if we had his numbers, but we don’t that I know of. TM is an inanimate object spewing objective data. How could it be wrong? If Tiger came to me say 5 down and 10 right back in 2001, Id tell him those numbers are PERFECT. Glad you enjoyed it

    • Well said! Tiger’s track record does indicate someone (when serious) who thinks analytically. Foley, staying true to his philosophical roots, embraces learning and teaching his craft in a scientific “professor” type manner. In this respect these two are on the same page and have a kindred mindset. I thinks it unfair to indirectly bash the teacher b/c the outputted product is speculation for injury. Literature suggests that you’ll have a higher likelihood of developing “compensation” type injuries after you’ve had your first major injury (e.g. Kobe Bryant & Derrick Rose). Short of finding someone who has a PhD in Biomechanics and can teach golf I think Foley seems to be the best equipped to handle Tiger’s physical ailments.

    • Im very impressed with the 14 majors Woods has amassed..
      But im WAY more impressed with the 79 tour wins(understanding many of these were WGC events).
      I remember as far back as the 1970s people, including Jack, claimed Snead’s 82 was unattainable in the ‘modern’ age.
      The fact someone has won 79 times cannot be overstated as to its impressiveness.

  23. It also looks to me a little like he’s got basically a one plane backswing but with a two plane release. Fine if your timing’s really on but more often than not a not so good combination.

    • If Brandel is correct on the handle drag or forward lean the only thing that corrects that, IF its a problem, is an earlier release. Getting the golf club in line with the left arm earlier is what would fix it.

    • Totally agree with you there Jeff. Tiger’s philosophy of the release is a screwdriver rotary move which is clearly a 2-plane move. If you watch the promotional showdown match b/w Rory & Tiger 2 years ago where both were mic’ed up, You clearly hear Tiger asking Rory his thoughts on the right release move ( it’s when Tiger was chastising Foley for the world to hear) and Tiger then showing the cameras his release move.

      I Personally think Tiger is at a crossroad right now with a bulky and slowing/ageing body where he cannot replicate his speed from his 20’s, so fundamental changes are in order for him to change the way he swings to suit his body limitations….again :)

      Question is, will Tiger’s EGO accept his limitations and adjust accordingly….

  24. The flight of the ball is the true test. It doesn’t matter what your swing necessarily looks like. One can only speculate why in Tigers case but perhaps its just wrong teacher for Tigers swing.

  25. That was great stuff from Chamblee and Nobilo. Clearly Woods isn’t fit, as Nobilo says, but Chamblee makes a good argument. Too on top of the ball-body stalls-hands flip=erratic striking and, eventually, a sore body-especially when swinging at 120 mphs.

  26. At least I won’t have to wait till the Ryder cup (even though how can Watson pick him now?) to see Woods crash and burn. The first 2 rounds of the PGA will do that for me. Thanks Tiger, you’ve made my week. Let’s hope the broadcast won’t talk about him all weekend even though he’s not there.

  27. Must be just by the grace of god that anyone was ever able to hit the ball before “TrackMan” was invited. Can you imagine how good Ben Hogan’s swing would have been if he had “TrackMan”.

  28. Lee Trevino was steep because he learned the game
    on hard pan dirt, so the only way to fly the ball.

    you search tiger practice videos from the past
    and when he leaves the range you did not tell he
    was there hitting 100´s of balls.

  29. Personally, I think most analysts have it completely wrong. They’re looking at Tiger’s swing and or his physical health, which may have a few issues here or there.

    Clearly his biggest issue is mental, and it not only applies to him, but his competitors as well.

    Being chased down by YE Yang in 2009 was the beginning of the end – given it was the first time he’d surrendered a 54 hole lead in a major. This showed his opponents he was ‘take-down-able’ – and he knows it.

    The very ugly and public outing of his philandering further bought him down to earth. Personally, I think he just loses interest when he falls too far back, or doesn’t feel he’s playing well. Round 2 at the PGA this week was a perfect example.

    The real shame is that – even still – he’s the man I most love to watch play. (Although I don’t fast-forward through everyone else these days like I used to, and just watch Tigers round). Golf is 99% mental, and it’s his mental edge within and without that he seems to have lost.

    I think Brandel and Frank are wasting everybody’s time arguing the toss over swing changes.

  30. I would really like Tiger to win again… I really would, I just think he needs to get away from Foley. Foley is a good coach but not what Tiger needs. Tiger needs to go back to Butch or Hank. Its as simple as that. forget trying to change AoA and steepness and leaning back at impact. Go back to Butch or Hank and let them fix him up right. I mean he couldnt do much worse than he has been.

      • I bet dollar to donuts Tiger makes a coaching change. It doesnt matter what the trackman numbers are. This is not a natural swing for him, trying to put the round peg in the square hole won’t work. Now more than ever Tiger must feel the door is closing and it is time now or never to make a move to a more natural swing. The Foley swing ideas although may work for some it doesnt for him. Using trackman, checking positions are never going to work when you can’t feel the swing. He has no goto shot off the tee, he used to have the stinger. Now it is hit and hope, good back or bad back this swing will never win a major. The mental strain or time spent trying to figure it out has left his short game and putting behind

      • Exactly what I was thinking! He needs an old school swing coach who knows the swing inside and out. Ballard teaches an old school dynamically correct swing that wont hurt your back. Check out his resume of tour pros he has helped who had back problems. Not only Rocco but Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, Curtis Strange etc. I play my best golf using his system. It works!

        • Exactly. Jimmy Ballard is the best, bar none.

          Ballard taught Jim Dent, so Tiger wouldn’t need to be concerned about loss of distance with such a change.

          As for longevity, Jim Colbert had a great run as a senior and Hal Sutton still swings it great well north of 50.

  31. Each gives valid points, but to put all the weight on the swing is a joke. There are plenty of ranger rick’s out there that can lace a 4 iron back to back. I refuse to be a part of the circlejerk that says if we just fix the swing we start winning majors. This aspect of the commentary is a complete joke.

  32. Brandy’s arguments are getting repetitive and silly now. Imagine a guy saying all this to you in person, I bet most elite players would laugh at him and turn away. My kids listen to the guy and sit there confused, he makes golf to be this complicated physics equation and throws every stat he can to prove his point. Bottom line, Tiger’s hurt, his swing is lacking feel, fluidity and has become overly mechanical, we all know this!!!

    Brandy drops orchestrated lines to finish his arguments too, to make them seem more impressive lol, little to nothing actually comes from the heart. Let’s critique Tim Clark, Stadler, De Jonge, Monty, McDowell…when they win or do poorly, no one really talks golf swing ever…

    Golf is a tough game on your body when you are swinging it as fast as Tiger did, look at Jason Day’s transition and tell me he won’t have issues one day as well. Tiger is the ultimate competitor so I can’t blame him for just being honest and saying he is feeling completely lost. I’d say take some time off, play when you’re healthy, play more events, and go back to BUTCH! Butch will work with what he has and make him into a competitor again minus the injuries! We all have to put our ego’s aside for the betterment of ourselves at some point.

  33. Also, I’ve heard mostly everyone talk about how good he hits it on the range and Wednesday when they had the tracer on him it certainly looked like it. So if the swing is good enough to stripe it there it should be good enough to do it on course unless Tiger is changing something – which he obviously is. Even Brandel has talked about it being great on the range. So, again, if it’s producing great shots there how can it be so awful of a move/concept that Brandel makes it out to be?

  34. Dennis and Tom what do you think about Brandel’s comment of Tiger leaning back at impact? Just from seeing it on video. I went back and watched his driver swing from 2000 on You Tube and then this years and it looks to me like he was much more “behind” the ball with his head and shoulders at impact in 2000. I think Brandel was correct in that Tiger has more shaft lean at impact now but not nearly as much as he indicated (showed about 6 inches with his hands) last night. However I believe he is incorrect on the leaning back more now to get the ball up. Thoughts?

      • I understand the help of actually being able to measure something like that but I believe you can look at a swing and tell how much lean or hang back there is. Teachers were able to see this and determine when a golfer was hanging back too much long before Trackman or Flight Scope came around.

  35. Stop throwing Chamblee under the bus. The guy knows his stuff and the fact that he didn’t personally win a dozen events not he PGA Tour doesn’t disqualify him from being a great analyst – which he is.

    …and his analysis of Tiger over the past 12-18 months has been spot on.

    • I personally like Mr. Chamblee, know him personally, he’s passionate and works hard to be the best he can be…if he and Mr. Nobilo didn’t have differing opinions regarding technology then TGC would be less exciting to watch. Value them both…

  36. Have to side with Nobilo, here. I had the same surgery four years ago. I did not twist my body, let alone even emulate a golf swing for six months. Even with all the strength trainers Tiger’s got, four months is way too early to play, let alone competitively. Also solid points from Dennis on age. I’m 40 and a 9 handicap. Could I reach a 3 handicap; not with the swing I had at 30 and prior surgery.

  37. Tiger is not healthy and that certainly is part of the issue but my observation is that MANY (not all) people hit good iron shots with a foley or S&T type action, but struggle with the Driver. However, Like some golf commentator pointed out a while back, I cannot for the life of me understand why Foley/Tiger cannot figure out some band-aid that will allow him to hit 60% of the fairways. Tiger should ditch Foley… not because Foley is a bad instructor per se, but because it just isn’t working and Tigers’ Window is closing. I hope he gets healthy so we can see if he can win majors again.. it is going to be a long shot.

    • I think this was the best 9 minutes on Golf Channel this year. They finally spoke how a good player would understand. Not dumbed down at all.
      Facts, numbers, both good arguments.

      And the swing, is how you “play” golf.

      • Agreed people are too quick to criticize when they start discussing technical aspects such as swing and numbers but they do not understand that these things are how many “play” the game, especially when it is that readily available.

        I am betting that most golfers would flock to this type of information if it was there for the taking and suddenly they would be discussing more technical information than anyone on TV.


  38. I still dont understand how Mr. Chamblee can be so critical of a guy that won 5 times in 2013.
    5 TIMES!!!
    How many seasons did Chamblee make 5 cuts, let alone win 5(including 2 WGCs and The Players)?

      • I understand your point.
        Brandel was a good commentator early in his career…well, at least a better one than he is now.
        But he has morphed into a Skip Bayless caricature of his once even handed self.
        Much of the viewing public imho simply want to hear golf experts(especially former pros like Brandel) report the news in a less biased, vitriolic fashion.
        Faldo, for example, has no particular love for Tiger yet seems to handle his duties as a color commentator with much more tact and dare i say class.
        Mr. chamblee and now Flesch to an extent, have become grumpy old men.
        I remember last year when Tiger won some tournament by like 8 shots and brandel spent the majority of golf central slamming his swing…it was ludicrous…

    • It’s clear Chamblee is not a huge fan of Tiger, but his criticisms have some validity. He won 5 times because he is a superior talent, even when he is not at his best. BTW- Chamblee made over 175 cuts on the PGA tour. He may not have been better than mediocre on tour, but he was out there for a while.

  39. This just goes to show there are a lot of so called experts coming up with different explanations for Tiger’s slump when none really knows what’s right or wrong. Tiger needs to leave all these swing coaches alone and do like Ben Hogan, dig it out of the dirt.

  40. Before we complain about Tiger, I think it is the first time he has played like us….how many times have we played rounds of golf with some injury or ailment where we should have stayed home….

  41. I would be really interested if Dennis or Tom think his problem lies more with his driver being too light, both the shaft and clubhead. I’m just a 10 handicap, but the driver gives me fits being BY FAR the lightest club in my bag. Even with lead tape I can barely feel where the clubhead. I’m not trying to compare myself to Tiger except that he did play the vast majority of his life with heavier shafts and metal-wood clubheads. I think its possible he’s watching the numbers too closely on the TRACKMAN, and that’s led him to the lightest driver set-up possible for speed, and he can’t feel the weight of the clubhead. At least very well.

    • Hard to say if his club is too light. You can have a light overall weight club that feels head heavy due to headweight, balance point in the shaft, etc. Most off the rack drivers are very light in the head with longer shafts (because all the geniuses at OEM’s tell us longer is better) so it’s easy for the club to feel too light.

    • Ive got a feeling Tiger’s club specs are not the problem with all the info these guys have available. I do think if he in fact went from 123 to 115 MPH something should have changed though.

    • He went to the lighter shaft for the same reason most older golfers do, to try and create speed. I agree with some other posters, he needs to quit trying to keep up with the young guns off the tee and just find the fairway. 280 to 290 is plenty long enough especially with his short game.

  42. Tiger needs to sleep in a hypobaric chamber until next season. dream about those days of old when he actually was first playing on tour. Wake from that dream with that swing. Then remember that he’s the greatest who ever played the game and rattle off 8 wins in 2015.

  43. I think Frank and Notah are right; not healthy, doesn’t have many reps this year and he came back way too soon from a serious injury. When Tiger is healthy, yes; his swing speed is up there and can hit the shots he wants too (like he did last year, and won 5 times). Tiger should take the rest of year off, miss the Ryder cup to fully recover for next season and be ready for Augusta next year. I personally think Brandel is a moron and is anti-tiger. He wants him back in the game, but called a guy a cheater last year…. Watching that entire video, he asked questions that were off topic and answered questions from frank that weren’t even close to the correct answer. Get your facts straight big guy.

    • The debate was great. No more golf for tiger until the farmers insurance next season. Get rid of Foley. Chamblee don’t know what he thinks. One day Tiger is the best. The next day he’s giving interviews to magazine editor about something negative about tiger. Tiger said today he needs to get stronger. In his words you can’t burn the candle at both ends. It’s time to rest Tiger.

  44. I go to these big box stores and watch people hit on these LM and before they have finished their swing they are looking back at the monitor.

    While there are benefits from this technology I think a lot of golfers overdo it. It is like they are trying to score a world record or something instead of gaining knowledge.

    These devices should not even show numbers to the average golfer. Go up, hit 20 balls best you can, let a professional review the data and give you a thought out explanation as to what is going on with your swing and what he feels you need to play your best.

    I think the problem with Tiger is he has lost his mystique. He used to be the stud of the PGA, the guy no one could touch. His incident that exposed his pathetic affairs to the world took the air of invincibility from him. That mental edge he used to have is gone, and you can talk swing mechanics all day long, but if you do not have the confidence you won’t hit the shots it takes to win. It is 90% mind, 10% swing….

  45. Dennis thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you answered the debate, both analysts have valid points. Regardless, I think it’s time for Tiger to cut ties with Foley. At the end if the days it about winning majors and it’s not happening with Foley.

    Tom while I agree with your assessment on how to effectively use Trackman, you didn’t provide an opinion on the debate. Who do you agree or disagree with? Why?

    • I agree with the Tiger/Foley team. Sean is a great instructor and Tiger is of course a great talent. But they are not a great match. the record speaks for itself. He’s won majors with everyone But Sean, But to be fair, Sean did get Tiger at a point in his life and career when he is clearly a different golfer and person. I’m a fan. I like history

  46. First, love Tiger and want to see him win! Second, great respect for Nobilo and Brandel. However, Brandel is absolutely correct. Tiger has a steep swing with his iron and greater forward shaft lean. The difference is in a driver swing, unlike the iron that you have a downward strike, the driver you have a positive angle of attack which means to hit a ball straight you have to swing a bit right with a more shallow swing. Currently with Tiger’s forward shaft lean with his driver is making matters worst, low ball flight and errant drives. To compensate tigers is leaning right to get the ball up and putting undo pressure on his back. I know I’ve been there. Hopefully, Tiger will listen to Brandel, he’s got it right. Great commentary, love it!

    • Alan, I agree but my point is we wouldn’t know steep unless we know attack angle. Does anyone know Tigers attack angle? We can’t say hitting down for sure unless we get AA, and/or path. There are guys who lean the shaft forward and hit up. That info might validate Brandels point. Thx for reading

      • I dont think we need to know the exact numbers, its plain as day when you watch his swing. No doubt about it, he is too steep on the ball, very hard to control it this way. Look at the picture golf digest posted, difference between 2000 and his swing today. Foley really stuck it to Tiger on being on top of the ball and compressing it. Ive watched Tiger hit balls on the range and his ballflight is much lower than before, that should tell you enough right there.

        • so you’re saying forward shaft lean ALWAYS = steep? there’s no way to be flat or shallow with forward shaft lean? everybody who has their hands ahead of the ball at impact is too steep?

          the forward shaft lean is probably de-lofting his irons a bit, which would lower the ball flight, yes?

          please show me a snapshot image of anyone on the pga tour who, at impact with a driver, is not leaning away from the target. they all do this. hips press toward target, head stays behind ball, spine tilts away from target. i would actually argue that images of tiger swinging his driver in the 2000 era show that he was leaning farther back than he does now.

    • Brandell is seldom right. The best drivers on tour average 1* downward at impact. This is not the best recipe for length but perhaps it’s the best recipe for total driving.

        • Easy to hit fairways with a 230 yard drives like inbee park, accuracy becomes much tougher when you average 323 yards like Rory did last week. Or you could compare the LPGAs longest player Lexi Thompson at 270.64 yards who hits 61.9% of her fairways to the PGA tours second shortest hitter Tim Clark who averages 270.2 yards and hits 74.58% of his fairways. Or if you take the total Driving stat leader in 2014 Adam Scott hitting 63% of fairways but averaging 30 yards more off the tee than Lexi, I find your argument that the LPGA has the best drivers RIDICULOUS. Going by the numbers the LPGA only has the shortest drivers.

          • There’s no question the farther you hit the ball the tougher accuracy becomes. So yes your point is valid, however I wouldn’t say my argument is RIDICULOUS when the top 100…100 LPGA tour members average 70% or better fairways where as only the top 10 PGA tour members average 70% or better. Plus any swing instructor will tell you and upward attack angle with the driver is ideal, hence why so many LPGA members have stronger lofts on their drivers then PGA members.

          • Great point. I agree that the best total drivers are not on the LPGA. Positive angle of attack of 1 degree hardly qualifies to be a significant stat average to say one tour is better at driving the ball than the other. I agree with Brandel, your logic and arguments are ridiculous. Bubba watson hits up 6 degrees on his driver yet adam Scott ranks much higher in total driving. Angle of angle of attack with a driver has far impact in determining DRIVER EFFICIENCY not TOTAL DRIVING which factors in distance and accuracy which by the numbers the pga tour is better. Mo Martin does lead the LPGA in accuracy at 85% but at 233 yards off the tee. if she was allowed to compete on the men’s tour I highly doubt she would lead total driving considering Tim Clark hits it 40 yards past her on average and only misses two fairways more per round. Golf is a game of distance and accuracy. Personally I’d take Boo Weekley over any LPGA tour player to hit drives in a scramble.

          • So Potus I guess you completely overlooked the part of my post that said no less than 100 LPGA members average 70% or better fairways but only 10 PGA members average 70% or better, that’s some pretty easy math of only 10 percent as many PGA tour members as accurate as LPGA members. So once again I would say that overall the LPGA is better off the tee than the PGA. I never implied that the best driver was on the LPGA. That honor almost certainly would go to someone like Adam Scott, Rory Mcilroy, or like someone else said maybe Boo Weekley.

        • The results are in. MHendon stated that best drivers are in the LPGA tour. The TOTAL DRIVING leader with the highest combined ranking for both distance and accuracy on the LPGA is Stacy Lewis. If she played the pga tour her total rank would be tied for 95th place and around 105 on the European tour. Stacy ranks around 50% for all tour players meaning there are well over 300 touring professionals that drive the ball better, and she is the best on the LPGA. 70% of the LPGA would be ranked at or near the bottom for total driving if all tours were combined. The LPGA has some extremely accurate players, but most of those are also extremely short hitters even on their own tour resulting in lower total driving. As the LPGA gets more youthful talent that bomb the ball like Lexi Thompson look for those accuracy numbers to decrease and fall in line closer to the pga tours. For now Henrik Stenson is Euros best driver, ranked 5th on the pga, and Shawn Stefani leads all tours.

  47. I think each of them Nobilo, Chamblee, and Begay (they forgot Begay in the article)all gave valid reasons that could be spot on why Tiger is not playing well of late. Also, they could all be right and it is a combination of all the reasons of Nobilo (injury still exists), Chamblee (technical causing injury), and Begay (injury causing technical compensations) which is very much within reason.